PROVISIONAL DOCUMENT – completed version
The role of monitoring and evaluation in national strategies/programmes for Roma and Travellers
Document1 prepared by Ms Iva Obretenova,
study visitor at the Council of Europe from July to September 2004,
for the Seminar on Monitoring and Evaluation Methodology of National Strategies/Programmes for Roma and Travellers,
Strasbourg, 2 and 3 September 2004
The views expressed in this document are the author's responsibility
and do not necessarily reflect the official standpoint of the Council of Europe
Member state Page
Bosnia and Herzegovina 5
Czech Republic 9
Serbia and Montenegro 24
“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” 32
United Kingdom 34
Appendix 1: Table of ministries/bodies involved in strategy monitoring
Appendix 2: Table of sectors addressed in the various strategies
The Albanian government adopted its Strategy for the Improvement of Living Conditions of the Roma Minority in April 2003.
Part three of the document presents the procedures and methods for the strategy's preparation and implementation.
Mention is made, inter alia, of the establishment of an inter-ministerial working group composed of representatives of nine ministries which participated in the strategy's development.
► This group has drawn up a work programme with a view to developing the strategy. The decision-making process has been defined solely for the "preparation" stage. However, it can be inferred from the document that the same body will have responsibility for implementation. Neither the frequency of the working group's meetings nor its means of financing are specified.
► Representatives of Roma civil society have participated in the identification and retrieval of information needed by the inter-ministerial working group in order to understand the current situation of the Roma community in Albania and the problems it encounters. The working group held a round-table debate with the Roma community to facilitate consultation on the strategy's development.
► An agreement has been concluded between government representatives and Roma NGOs. Working groups, in which both sides are represented, have been set up to ensure an ongoing exchange of views with regard to the strategy's implementation.
Questions regarding the distribution of tasks linked to the strategy's implementation remain outstanding, but the arrangements for its monitoring are clearer (see below). The group's work lacks transparency, at least as regards the description given in the document itself, and its operating methods are not well defined.
The same third part of the strategy document contains a sub-section on the monitoring process.
The document states that a state monitoring structure is necessary to guarantee the effectiveness of the strategy's implementation. According to the text, this structure should be attached to a specialist department, but the latter's level in the country's institutional hierarchy is not specified. This body is to begin functioning as soon as the text is adopted. Its working methods are not stipulated, and the facilities necessary to its smooth running are to be determined subsequently by the department to which it is attached.
No information is given on the frequency of meetings or on the structure's internal functioning and financing. It is hence not clear to what extent this body will be independent of the inter-ministerial working group responsible for applying the strategy. Concerning its membership, the only information provided is that it will comprise specialists in five different fields - education and culture, employment, economics, social problems and family affairs and urban planning and development. The decision-making powers and status enjoyed by its members are also not clarified.
This structure, referred to as the "Integration Centre" in subsequent parts of the strategy document, will perform the following tasks:
► working with the Ministry of Finance and other donors regarding the financing of the strategy's implementation;
► ongoing cooperation with the country's Roma associations to solve problems necessitating consultation between the authorities and the Roma community. This is the only room allowed for consultation of representatives of Roma civil society in the monitoring process. No external, fully independent monitoring by experts or Roma NGOs is provided for.
► seeking new partners at central or local level for the pursuit of the objectives laid down in the national strategy. This is the sole reference to local government's role in the monitoring process.
► identifying and collecting indicators for monitoring the strategy's implementation, with a view to submitting reports to the parent department. The centre is expected to issue opinions and reports. However, these reports are intended solely for the department to which the centre is attached, and it is not clear whether they will be made public.
The rest of the document sets out the monitoring indicators, of which there are 22. These indicators were selected on the basis of certain essential objectives to be achieved under the strategy. Almost all of the indicators listed are quantitative, making them easily measurable and usable. At the same time, there is a lack of qualitative indicators, determination of which is vital to the proper evaluation of this type of strategy.
The centre will be given more detailed instructions and information concerning its activities once it is officially established.
The document says nothing about the strategy's evaluation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Strictly speaking, Bosnia and Herzegovina has no national programme for Roma. The Roma Committee, which was set up in 2002 under the aegis of the Council of Ministers, adopted, on 14 November of the same year, a four-page Framework Plan and Programme of Work for the period 2002-2006, which serves as a set of medium-term guidelines for government policy on Roma.
§ The work programme reiterates the priority fields of action identified by Roma NGOs at a round-table conference in November 2001: education, health, housing, employment, social affairs, refugees and displaced persons. It also provides for measures enabling the many Roma who are without personal documents to obtain identity cards and citizenship and be registered in the registers of births.
§ The Roma Committee under the aegis of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina has eighteen members, including nine Roma, put forward by the country's Roma NGOs in November 2001, and nine representatives of ministries of the State and the Entities. The committee is chaired by a Rom, who convenes meetings and determines their agendas.
Ø The committee may establish sub-committees to deal with specific issues. It submits opinions to the Council of Ministers, not necessarily at the latter's request. It is in contact with the State ministries, notably the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, and, like that ministry, acts as a coordinator on minority issues. It also maintains relations with the authorities of the Entities, cantons and municipalities, from which it obtains information and data. It can propose tangible measures to solve certain problems of infringement of the rights of the Roma minority (the Roma are in fact classified as "Others", the constitutional term used to designate ethnic groups that are neither Serb, Croat nor Muslim).
Ø Tasks under the work programme are assigned either to the Roma Committee itself (an example is data retrieval) or to the relevant ministries. It is not systematically made clear that the government or the respective ministries ultimately have any responsibility for implementing the work programme; nor does the document contain any section on monitoring and evaluation.
Ø The duration of the tasks assigned to the Committee or the ministries is virtually always "permanent", meaning until the programme expires in 2006. No interim stage is foreseen, with the result that it will not be possible to change the direction of government policy if it does not have the desired effect.
Ø The only exception is the field of education, where the document provides that monitoring will take place "one month a year", doubtless meaning once per year.
Ø Two of the main impediments to the Committee's smooth functioning are a lack of State subsidies, without which it cannot tranquilly perform its tasks, and its large number of partners (the State, the Entities, the cantons, the municipalities, and so on), which complicates communication and the allocation of responsibilities.
In 1999 Bulgaria adopted its Framework programme for equal integration of Roma in Bulgarian society. In September 2003 the Bulgarian government adopted a First plan for implementation of the framework programme for equal integration of Roma in Bulgarian society, for the period 2003-2004. The government is committed to preparing a more ambitious, more long-term plan of action by the end of 2004.
The initial action plan was coordinated with NGOs and representatives of the Roma community. The main measures are scheduled and their financing is guaranteed, which is of key importance to ensure their implementation.
The action plan for implementation of the national programme contains a clear allocation of tasks and responsibilities. It is the ministries and administrative authorities working in the sectors corresponding to the planned fields of action that are responsible for implementation.
The framework programme of 1999 contains no information on monitoring or evaluation.
The monitoring process is, however, discussed in the section of the action plan entitled "Administrative framework and partnership".
► The action plan itself takes account of the conclusions of an evaluation of the national programme's implementation prepared by the country's association of Roma organisations (the Roma parliament). In this specific case the evaluation is described as external and independent.
Explanations are given on the central role played by the National Council on Ethnic and Demographic Issues (NCEDI). Established on 4 December 1997 by a decree of the Council of Ministers, this body acts as a state agency responsible for matters concerning all of the country's minorities. It takes charge of coordination and consultation with minority communities on government policy. It is chaired by a minister without portfolio. Some of the experts working for the NCEDI are of Roma origin. It is in contact with some thirty organisations representing minorities and with bodies similar to itself at the regional and municipal levels.
► It is responsible for monitoring implementation of the national programme. In addition to this monitoring, it coordinates the work done by the various ministries and administrative authorities on the national strategy.
► To ensure an ongoing partnership with representatives of local government and Roma NGOs, the NCEDI is required to hold periodic discussions on the programme's implementation with them and may also request their assistance. Although no information is given on their frequency, periodic meetings of this kind are important to the decision-making process concerning the action plan's implementation and monitoring. Roma representatives do participate in this process, which is basically of a consultative nature.
► The NCEDI's working methods and decision-making procedures are not clearly set out in the document. It intends its activities to be transparent, since it states that is open to all suggestions and offers of cooperation by its partners.
► No details on monitoring indicators can be found in the action plan itself. Nor is any mention made of evaluation.
Other specialist bodies have been established in Bulgaria to facilitate the work being done by the ministries on the programme for Roma:
- the Consultative Council on the Education of Schoolchildren and Pupils from Ethnic Minorities, attached to the Ministry of Education and Science;
- the Roma Public Council on Cultural Issues, attached to the Ministry of Culture.
These specialist bodies are not described in detail, and it is accordingly difficult to know their exact role in the programme's implementation and monitoring.
The Croat government adopted its National Programme for Roma on 16 October 2003. It was the outcome of a lengthy consultation process (over three years) between the authorities and Roma NGOs, to which international experts contributed.
The section on "Monitoring and evaluation of the National Programme for Roma" provides for the establishment of a Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Programme for Roma.
► This is an inter-ministerial commission, presided over by the Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for social affairs and human rights, and brings together representatives of the various government agencies concerned. Its members also include a representative of civil society organisations active in the field of human rights and seven representatives of the Roma community, drawn from the Roma councils elected at local and regional level and from associations, as well as local government representatives.
► The method for designating the Roma participants is not well-defined in all cases. There is no doubt as to the legitimacy of those representing the Roma councils at local and regional level, but the criteria for selecting the associations' representatives are not clearly specified. Nor are the decision-making powers these members enjoy. (Are they present in a purely advisory capacity? Do they have a right of veto?)
► The commission has a pivotal role in the monitoring process. It is responsible for proposing amendments to the programme and systematically monitors its implementation. However, neither the frequency of its meetings nor its working methods are stipulated in the programme itself. The section on monitoring provides for it to be granted a budget of 100,000 kunas. However, it is by no means certain that this sum has in fact been allocated, in view of the government's difficulties in funding the programme as a whole in 2004.
► No information is given on the decision-making process within the commission. Nor is there anything on the monitoring indicators, on the basis of which the need for adjustments to the programme will be decided. Will these be qualitative and/or quantitative? It is important that the indicators should be defined from the start of the commission's work.
► With regard to transparency, the commission is required to submit an annual report on the programme's implementation, taking account of reports by the various ministries and government agencies and by "other bodies responsible for the implementation of the measures". It is not clear whether this encompasses any reports or observations by Roma representatives or associations, or whether the latter will have a right to comment before the report's publication.
► It is the Office for National Minorities of the government of the Republic of Croatia which is responsible for coordination and administrative tasks. However, the office has apparently not received any additional human or financial resources with a view to fulfilling this new function, which could have implications for its effectiveness.
The Czech Republic's national programme, entitled "Roma Integration Policy Concept", was adopted under a Government Resolution on 14 June 2000 and was subsequently updated in 2002 and 2003.
The annual updating of the programme includes an evaluation of the fulfilment of tasks assigned to each ministry. The Government Commissioner for Human Rights, through the Deputy Prime Minister (who chairs the councils mentioned below), is required to submit an annual report to the government on the programme's implementation and to make proposals.
It can be noted that some regions ("kraj") in the Czech Republic have adopted their own integration policy documents, which are based on the national document but take account of local differences. However, not all the regions are concerned so far.
Part 2 of the policy concept document, entitled "Institutional organisation of Roma integration", presents the government's three advisory bodies involved in the monitoring process under the Roma Integration Policy Concept. They are:
- the Council for Roma Community Affairs;
- the Council for Human Rights;
- and the Council for National Minorities.
► Among these three bodies, it is the Council for Roma Community Affairs which is most directly concerned by Roma issues. Until December 2001, when the programme was first updated, this body was known as the Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs.
► A minister without portfolio was appointed to head this council. Representatives of twelve ministries also sit on the council, and the Roma community has fourteen representatives, one for each of the country's fourteen regions. All members are appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister, who chairs the council.
► Half of the Roma representatives come from NGOs, and the other half from local government. All have voting rights. The diversity of the representatives on the council and the equal rights enjoyed by its members offer a good example of effective participation.
► The decision-making process is set out in clear terms: the council reaches decisions by consensus or by a simple majority vote. Unfortunately, this council has a purely advisory role vis-à-vis the government and the ministries concerned, which have full discretion to decide whether or not to seek the council's opinion. There appears to be no guarantee that meetings of the council will be held at regular intervals.
Although the Roma members of the council are supposed to work closely with the Roma Coordinators at regional level, the council in fact has scant institutional links with the regions and no links at all with parliament. The council deals almost exclusively with the executive branch of the national administration.
► The council seems to lack the resources needed for it to assume a more active role in monitoring the implementation of the national programme. Responsibility for implementing activities aimed at furthering Roma integration is delegated to the various departments of the relevant ministries.
► The document does not contain any description of the monitoring process in which the council is apparently meant to participate. Only the last section "Conclusions" refers to concepts linked to monitoring, although the term itself is not used.
► Although this last section states that the intention is that the document should be a subject of public debate, the process is described in a fairly superficial manner, which detracts from its transparency.
► As regards activities in the field of human rights, responsibility for monitoring and reporting to the government lies with the Council for Human Rights. This body monitors the effective implementation and fulfilment of commitments entered into by the Czech Republic under the various legal instruments for protection of human rights that the country has signed. Its working methods are not described in any great detail in the document.
► The third body involved in monitoring the implementation of the Czech national programme is the Council for National Minorities. In addition to representatives of the public authorities, it comprises members of the country's eleven minority communities, including three Roma. One of its main tasks is securing funding within the state budget for activities benefiting the national minorities, and in particular for Roma integration. The same council acts as a body monitoring respect for the minorities' cultural rights.
In 1999 Finland's Ministry of Social Affairs and Health published a document entitled "Strategies of the Policy on Roma". Following its publication the ministry set up a Administrative working group on Romani Affairs with the task of determining the administrative measures to be taken. A memorandum by the working group was published in 2001.
► The Advisory Board on Romani Affairs plays a vital role in Finland. Established by government decree, it began its work in 1956 (making it one of the oldest such bodies in Europe) under the name Advisory Board on Gypsy Affairs. In the state hierarchy it is attached to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. However, it is relatively autonomous since its members are appointed directly by the Council of State (government). It serves as a point of reference and contact for all the other ministries when they have to deal with Roma-related issues.
► The Board has a maximum of 16 members, plus a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson. Half of the members represent the Roma community, and the others are representatives of the ministries concerned. Such an equal balance between Roma and non-Roma members is noteworthy. This makes it more likely that the Board's decisions will command real support among the Roma representatives. At the same time, it is easier for the Roma representatives to oppose certain measures where they are more numerous. The Chairperson is traditionally a member of parliament, and the Vice-Chairperson a member of the Roma community.
► The continuity of the Board's work is ensured by the existence of a secretariat, which prepares the Board's proceedings and executes its decisions. The secretariat is staffed with civil servants from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Since 1997 the Secretary General has been a woman of Roma origin.
The Board's tasks include monitoring trends in Roma social participation and living conditions. It is responsible for taking initiatives in various fields on behalf of Roma, with the aim of eliminating discrimination and promoting equal opportunities.
► To facilitate cooperation with local authorities on Roma matters, Regional Advisory Boards have been established in conjunction with the Provincial Governments. There are four such boards, and their legal status should shortly be revised to enhance cooperation with Roma communities at local level.
► Roma participation in these Regional Advisory Boards follows the national model, i.e. half of the members are Roma and the other half representatives of the provincial governments. These regional boards enjoy a degree of freedom of action.
The document of 1999 gives no information on monitoring and evaluation of Finland's national strategy. The above-mentioned Advisory Board is responsible for monitoring the strategy's implementation. The list of its functions includes "to monitor the development of the social participation and the living conditions of the Roma in order to promote equality". In practice, the Secretary General of the Advisory Board on Romani Affairs regularly publishes reports on the strategy's implementation and is involved in the preparation of the Finnish annual report to the UN Treaty Body´s monitoring function, to CoE monitoring bodies in the fields of human rights, anti-discrimination and minority rights and to EU/EUMC and other international human rights institutions. However, no mention is made of use of indicators.
In 1997 Greece devised its first national programme for Roma, known as the "National policy framework and action plan for Roma in Greece, 1997-2001". Based on the experience acquired with that first plan, a new national "Integrated action plan for the social integration of Greek Roma, 2002-2008" was adopted in December 2002.
► The effective implementation of this new programme is monitored by an Interministerial Commission for Roma affairs, established by decision of the Prime Minister. This commission is chaired by the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, which is also responsible for coordinating the work. Other ministries are apparently also directly involved in the programme's implementation and monitoring, such as the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity (see the appended table for a complete list of ministries involved). The commission's tasks include:
- planning and coordinating national policy for Roma;
- devising and promoting legislative, administrative and financial measures in the fields of health, education, housing, employment and cultural development, and monitoring their implementation.
At the same time, a committee has been set up within the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation with representatives of the Prime Minister's Office, the ministry, the Roma Network and the Pan Hellenic Roma Federation. This committee's exact role, in particular in relation to the inter-ministerial commission, is not specified. It seems to serve as a consultative body with representatives of the Roma community.
► The programme itself stipulates that the government wishes to allow Roma to play an active role at all procedural levels. However, without more information, a detailed analysis of Roma participation in the action plan's implementation and monitoring is not possible.
► Cooperation with the agencies responsible for the programme at the local and regional levels is a further goal. This is an interesting facet of the programme, which seeks to encourage greater involvement of decentralised authorities, who are usually closer to grass-roots problems. The arrangements for this cooperation should nonetheless be set out in greater detail in the programme and action plan.
► Regarding the monitoring process, the intention is to establish ad hoc committees at central and regional level. Some of these committees have apparently already been appointed. Their members will include experts, representatives of the Prime Minister's Office and of central and local agencies, as well as representatives of networks of Roma organisations and of the Pan Hellenic Roma Federation. This is the sole information available on these committees and their work. No mention is made of their number, precise tasks, status or decision-making powers.
► In general, the information and explanations on the monitoring procedure provided in the national programme are inadequate, which reduces the scope for public transparency, albeit a programme objective.
Hungary developed its first strategy for the Roma, entitled "Package of medium-term measures to improve the living standards and social position of the Roma", in 1997. This package of measures is regularly analysed and amended (amendments were adopted in 1999 and 2001). A new medium-term programme was drawn up in 2003. The medium-term measures are implemented through annual governmental action plans.
Both short and long-term measures have to be consistent with the Guiding principles of the long-term Roma social and minority policy strategy, approved in July 2001, on which a public debate was subsequently opened but which have never been officially adopted by the government.
Development of the medium-term strategy was the responsibility of the Prime Minister's Office and in particular the State Secretary for Roma Issues.
► An Interdepartmental Committee for Roma Issues is in charge of coordinating the strategy's implementation, while responsibility for implementation lies with the ministries themselves. This committee has been functioning for eight years now. It was established by a government resolution, and its statutes have been revised once (in November 2002).
This committee is also the sole body responsible for monitoring, since its members are required to report regularly on implementation of the measures. To enhance the effectiveness of implementation of the Roma programmes, a Government Decree was adopted in 2002 providing for the introduction of a monitoring mechanism meeting the European Commission criteria. The frequency of the committee's meetings is not stipulated.
► The committee's membership is clearly defined: it includes members of the ministries concerned by the strategy (Vice State Secretaries) plus representatives of other ministries, who sit on the committee on an ad hoc basis. It is chaired by the Minister without Portfolio for Equal Opportunities, the minister heading the Prime Minister's Office who deals with minority issues. Two State Secretaries work under this minister. The first deals with policy concerning Hungary's minorities, including the Roma (with specific responsibility for culture, preservation of identities, languages, traditions, education and cultural autonomy); the second focuses on social integration of the Roma (the post's title is State Secretary for Roma Issues, with responsibility for housing, employment, health and discrimination). It is this State Secretary who serves as Vice-Chair of the Interdepartmental Committee. In addition to the ministerial representatives, the Secretary of the Council for Roma Affairs, the minorities ombudsman and the President of the National Roma Self-Government have permanent guest status with the committee, as do the two public foundations working for the Roma. The office of the State Secretary for Roma Issues provides the committee's secretariat.
► The interdepartmental committee accordingly has a very broad membership. However, the Roma presence is confined to a few individuals, some of whom are members of the government. It is not clear what room for manoeuvre the permanent guests enjoy. Do they have decision-making powers or a right of veto?
Hungary has a non-governmental consultative body, the Council for Roma Affairs, whose Secretary has permanent guest status with the interdepartmental committee. This non-governmental body was established in 2002 and has 21 members, including the President of the National Roma Self-Government and other Roma leaders. It holds four meetings per year under the Prime Minister's chairmanship (the Vice-Chair is the State Secretary for Roma Issues). It can therefore be seen that the State Secretary for Roma Issues and the President of the National Roma Self-Government play a key role in the consultation process and enjoy electoral and political legitimacy (indirect for the former, direct for the latter). At the same time, participation by Roma NGOs in the consultation and monitoring process would seem to be somewhat limited.
► The document entitled "Guiding principles of the long-term Roma social and minority policy strategy" presents monitoring as an essential ingredient of the long-term strategy. It is dealt with in section 4.3 "Monitoring and evaluation" and in the appendix on "Adjusting the long-term strategy to social processes: Roma social indicators". The document recommends that the long-term strategy be evaluated every five years and that monitoring techniques employing scientific methods be used to that end, so that the strategy is regularly reviewed and any necessary adjustments are made.
► The need to use monitoring indicators is taken into account. According to the text, these must be calculable and comparable. No distinction is drawn between quantitative and qualitative indicators. The text of the long-term strategy cites examples of indicators in different fields (education, health, etc.) but in a rather muddled way.
The text on the long-term strategy clearly states that an exact evaluation procedure concerning the implementation of the package of medium-term measures is lacking. This prevents comparison of the results of individual programmes and, consequently, identification of programmes having a real impact on the situation of the Roma. This constitutes healthy self-criticism.
► The Minority Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is described as the only independent institution capable of performing this monitoring and evaluation work until the planned Monitoring Committee, connected to the Interdepartmental Committee for Roma Issues, is set up. The intention is that representatives of the National Roma Self-Government should be involved in this Monitoring Committee. It is also proposed that a Roma Strategy Forum be held from time to time, at which those involved in the various programmes would review the impact of the measures taken on behalf of the Roma.
► As regards communication policy vis-à-vis the Roma communities, it should be noted that this is one of the objectives of the package of medium-term measures. However, no precise explanations are given on application of this communication policy.
Ireland has chosen to give preference to sector-based strategies for Irish Travellers.
The Irish government has been concerning itself with the Traveller question since the early nineties. In 1993 a Task Force, chaired by a Member of Parliament, was set up. It concluded its work with a Report on the Travelling Community, issued in July 1995, containing recommendations, which served as a basis for the development of the sector-based strategies:
a. the National Traveller Health Strategy, 2002-2005, developed by the Department of Health and Children, was adopted in February 2002. A Traveller Health Advisory Committee (THAC) was established in 1998 to advise the Department of Health and Children on Traveller related issues. This committee plays an important part in gathering information on the state of Travellers' health, coordinating work aimed at improving Travellers' health and establishing forums for debate and consultation of NGOs and Travellers' organisations.
b. the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act of 1998 led to the creation of a Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee in April 1999;
c. the Department of Education and Science is preparing a national Traveller Education Strategy, which should be ready by the end of 2004. A National Advisory Committee on Traveller Education was set up in 1998 to advise the Department of Education and Science on Traveller related issues.
d. Traveller employment issues are dealt with by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. At present, there are no plans for a specific strategy for Travellers, who are nonetheless included in training schemes. However, there are no statistics on any positive outcomes of such training.
These strategies have been developed by the relevant ministries (health; environment; education; enterprise, trade and employment), which are also responsible for their implementation. Joint committees have been set up bringing together ministerial representatives, advisers (in health matters, education and so on) and representatives of Traveller organisations (see above), which ensures Travellers' participation in the decision-making process. However, it is not stipulated whether the Traveller representatives have a right of veto.
The above-mentioned strategies are implemented at both national and local level. For example, the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act of 1998 requires local authorities of a certain size to establish a Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee to advise on the provision of Traveller accommodation within their boundaries. It also provides that each relevant housing authority must prepare and implement a five-year accommodation programme to cover Travellers' needs. However, in practice the situation varies considerably from one local authority to another. There are apparently no local authority representatives on the above-mentioned advisory committees, and local officials appear to be treated more as having a merely executorial role within the system.
An Inter-departmental Monitoring Committee for Travellers held its first meeting on 19 June 1998. It is chaired by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, which has jurisdiction for equality issues, including Traveller related matters. Irish Traveller NGOs and the social partners also participate in its work. It is not clear how this inter-ministerial committee interacts with the joint committees established at the level of each government department. Nor is it stipulated whether the same persons (officials and Traveller representatives) sit on all these committees.
This inter-departmental committee is responsible for coordinating the activities of each government department, monitoring the implementation of the Task Force's recommendations and submitting reports to the government. In 2000 it published an initial progress report on implementation of the various recommendations aimed at improving Travellers' circumstances. A second report should be published shortly. The reports' frequency is not stipulated, merely that they should be issued "from time to time". This situation is regrettable. The committee's first report can be consulted on the Internet and, hence, offers the great advantage of transparency vis-à-vis the general public.
The report issued in 2000 makes no mention of measurable indicators relied on in the monitoring process, and the methodology underlying the report is not clear.
A Group of Senior Officials on Social Inclusion, chaired by the Prime Minister's Office (Taoiseach’s Department), holds regular meetings to discuss progress in the field of social inclusion and often deals with Traveller issues. It reports to the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion, which is chaired by the Prime Minister in person.
Unlike most other countries, which adopted a global strategy, subsequently sub-divided into sectors which are the responsibility of the relevant ministries, Ireland has opted to follow the opposite approach by beginning with sector-based strategies, which it is now attempting to bring together in a single monitoring system.
In Ireland Roma are regarded as a foreign ethnic group (immigrants, refugees), and their legal status reflects this situation. There is no specific programme for this population group.
With regard to financial monitoring, the Department of Health and Children has a specialist Traveller Health Policy Unit. This unit is responsible for planning and monitoring the allocation of national and regional funds to this policy and for monitoring the state of health of Irish Travellers.
It is this unit which prepares annual reports on implementation of the National Traveller Health Strategy, but it is not clear to whom these reports are addressed - doubtless the Department of Health and Children. No information is available on the monitoring mechanism applied.
The draft Traveller Education Strategy provides for an action plan divided into several stages. It can be assumed that an evaluation of the results will be performed at the end of each stage.
The Lithuanian national programme was adopted on 1 July 2000 under a government resolution and is entitled the "Roma Integration Programme for 2000-2004".
This is a long-term strategy implemented in two stages: 2000-2004, concerning only certain regions, and 2005-2009, covering the entire country.
Responsibility for implementing the national programme lies with the Department of National Minorities and Lithuanians Living Abroad. This department has existed since 1989 but was renamed and reorganised in 1999 under a government resolution. It deals with minorities in general and has no Roma staff. It maintains close relations with parliament (the Seimas), principally with the Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on Education, Science and Culture, and with the municipality of Vilnius and other municipal authorities in Lithuania. This department cooperates with the NGOs and is represented at meetings of the National Communities Council. The latter is a non-governmental body set up in 1995 under the department's supervision, and a Roma is present among the 20 minorities represented. All of its members participate on an equal footing. The council has regular meetings with members of parliament and the President of the Republic.
The department's main functions are:
- implementing programmes for national minorities;
- drawing up general policy principles on minority issues, which are submitted to the government for approval;
- protecting the rights and identities of the country's minorities.
The national programme for 2000-2004 clearly stipulates the distribution of tasks among the various players (ministries, municipalities, etc.) and the years and budgets concerned.
Little is said about the process for monitoring the programme's implementation. Mention is made of the establishment of a working group responsible for coordinating the national programme's execution. It comprises representatives of all the institutions involved in the Department of National Minorities, plus representatives of the country's chief Roma NGOs (their number is not determined). No information is provided on the frequency of meetings of this working group - which can be qualified as inter-ministerial - nor concerning its real influence on decisions affecting the Roma national programme.
At the same time, no mention is made of evaluation, which is incongruous for a programme amounting to a pilot project, since the intention is to extend it to the entire country in the second stage (2005-2009). Nor is there any information on evaluation indicators.
The Department of National Minorities and Lithuanians Living Abroad published a report on the Roma community in Lithuania in 2004. Apart from the texts of the law on ethnic minorities and the 2000-2004 programme – including the relevant action plan – it sets out the conclusions of a sociological study of the Roma communities living in the vicinity of Vilnius and provides a more general overview of the Roma in Lithuania. However, it does not answer the above questions on monitoring.
In 2001 Moldova adopted a government decision on support measures for the Roma of the Republic of Moldova. This two-page decision merely sets out a list of measures to be implemented by certain ministries or public bodies. It contains no other information. Nonetheless, the decision asks the ministries and institutions concerned to draw up action plans in their respective fields, including budgetary estimates, for the period 2001-2010.
In 2003 the government of the Republic of Moldova committed itself to supplement this government decision, so as to transform it into a global programme. Since July 2003 contact persons have been designated in each ministry concerned, but no inter-ministerial commission has been set up as yet. The ministries have defined more precise measures and further clarified their timing and funding.
However, so far no information has been given on the future programme's monitoring and evaluation. There are no plans for a monitoring body at present.
In July 2003 a Roma Negotiating Group (RNG) was established, bringing together some twenty Roma NGOs (all those existing in the county with one exception). It set up a secretariat consisting of four volunteer workers, who ensure coordination and exchanges of information between the government (chiefly the Department of Interethnic Relations – see below) and the Roma NGOs. To enhance its effectiveness, the secretariat has been provided with an office free of charge by the Department of Interethnic Relations. It recently submitted a list of recommendations and measures proposed by the Roma NGOs, which should subsequently be compared and discussed with the ministerial representatives in a series of bilateral meetings (pending the establishment of an inter-ministerial commission).
The Department of Interethnic Relations, set up in May 2001, is a public body responsible for safeguarding linguistic and cultural diversity and the rights of the national minorities. It covers all of the country's minorities.
An initial regional programme, "The Pilot Government Programme for the Roma Community in Małopolska province for the years 2001-2003", was adopted on 13 February 2001 (Resolution 11/2001 of the Council of Ministers). It was followed by the "Government Programme for the Roma Community in Poland", adopted at national level in August 2003.
► The Pilot Government Programme for the Roma Community in Małopolska province was drawn up following joint work by central government bodies (the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Culture), representatives of Roma organisations and the local authorities of the province of Małopolska. It is also described as an outcome of the establishment, in January 2000, of a Division for National and Ethnic Minorities within the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. Responsibility for the programme and its implementation is shared by the Ministry of the Interior and Administration and the Governor of the Province of Małopolska.
The programme's primary objective was to improve coordination and cooperation between government units and NGOs, including Roma organisations. Its main focus is education. It would seem that a real effort was made to involve all the stakeholders concerned (Roma and non-Roma) at both national and local level in the programme's development. It is less certain that the same applies to the implementation and monitoring stages.
► For lack of a description of the monitoring mechanism, the provincial programme does not specify whether NGOs and Roma representatives participate in the monitoring process. This could ultimately lead to differences of opinion as to whether the programme is effectively attaining its aims and whether the data used by the authorities reflect the real situation.
Nor is any mention made of the indicators that may be used by the institutions responsible for monitoring. There is a lack of data collection and research, and little money has been made available for research projects.
► The original Polish concept of beginning with a pilot programme before initiating a national programme is an interesting approach, particularly as a means of addressing the issue from a bottom-up (rather than a top-down) perspective. However, it is to be regretted that the text on this programme contains no section on monitoring and evaluation, which is incongruous for a pilot programme that, by its very nature, is intended to make it possible to learn the lessons of an initial experience, with a view to reproducing the project on a larger scale. The only reference to "monitoring" concerns the role entrusted to the administrations of the provincial Governors, which are required to assess - on an ongoing basis- whether the programme's objectives are being achieved. It is not stipulated whether Roma representatives are involved in this exercise nor whether reports on the subject have been published and publicly debated, thereby ensuring transparency and availability of information for the general public.
The Government Programme for the Roma Community in Poland covers the entire country and is described as a continuation and an extension of the pilot programme implemented in the province of Małopolska.
► The Ministry of the Interior and Administration retains responsibility for the development and coordination of the national programme. Mention is made of supervisory tasks concerning regional planning that are entrusted to the Governors of the various provinces. It is stipulated that the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport will exercise "supervision" over education-related activities. Since the work involved in such "supervision" is not defined, it is difficult to say whether it should be understood to mean actual monitoring work.
► Information on the programme's monitoring is set out in Chapter IX of the Polish national programme, entitled "Monitoring of the programme's execution". The monitoring mechanism is described in quite considerable detail and allows room for external evaluation. The programme even has an appendix on monitoring, which is not available in English.
► The main responsibility for proper implementation of the national programme lies with the minister in charge of minority issues and the provincial Governors. Provision is made for annual monitoring of implementation, but also for a more regular monitoring process.
► The text contains explanations on how the monitoring mechanism works. The project managers at local level report, notably on financial matters, to the provincial authorities, which collect the data and forward them to the minister. The above-mentioned authorities responsible for monitoring are able to perform investigations into projects' implementation and to ask the project managers to clarify how the work is being done at any stage in the process. It is stipulated that experts from independent NGOs or other institutions may be requested to assess progress in attaining the programme's goals.
► The monitoring mechanism is transparent and entails a bottom-up approach. By means of ongoing monitoring, it enables adjustment and adaptation of the measures originally envisaged. On the other hand, the role and active participation of Roma in what is in fact an institutional process are not always very clear.
The national programme is extremely detailed and precise as regards its financing. Clear mention is made of the contributions from the state and from the provincial authorities, thereby ensuring the system's transparency, and of the various options at European level. Financing of measures under the programme offers the advantage of taking many forms and of entailing the contribution and the answerability of all those potentially involved in the programme. Provision is even made for the possibility of mid-year reallocation of funds not being utilised to projects answering the programme's criteria. Invitations to apply for such funds are issued at the level of the provinces. It is stipulated that projects submitted to the relevant ministry by the Governors of the provinces together with Roma NGOs have more chance of being subsidised, which further enhances participation and cooperation.
Regarding inter-ministerial cooperation, a Sub-Team for Roma issues, operating under the aegis of the Prime Minister's office, was established as a state body on 6 February 2002 by Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers. It is an advisory body, which is to be consulted concerning all government activities for the Roma community in the fields covered by the programme. However, no mention is made of its role in coordinating and monitoring the programme. It is not clear whether this body monitors the implementation of the national programme on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office. It plays the role of an inter-ministerial commission, bringing together representatives of the various ministries, of the Parliamentary Committee for National and Ethnic Minorities and of local government.
Roma participation in the work of this high-level sub-team is not guaranteed, but it is of interest that its meetings are open to NGOs and Roma representatives. This offers the advantage of allowing any party interested in the programme to participate in the discussions (however, it is not stipulated whether they can go so far as to voice their opinions and influence the debate, or whether they are confined to the role of observers). Conversely, this system may be somewhat lacking in rigour (a permanent presence is not guaranteed, which may slow down the consultation process).
No information is provided on the frequency of meetings of the sub-team or the publication of any stances it may take.
The Strategy of the Government of Romania for Improving the Condition of the Roma was adopted in April 2001. It includes a Master Plan of Measures for the Strategy's Implementation. This plan covers ten years (2001-2010) but also contains a more detailed plan of measures for the first four years. It clearly distributes the tasks among the different players concerned, listing all the measures and allocating numbers to them, which facilitates monitoring work. All the measures are budgeted, and there are precise deadlines for their implementation.
The Romanian national strategy is the result of cooperation between the Romanian government and the representatives of Roma organisations elected to the group of representatives responsible for drawing up the strategy in partnership with the various ministries.
Part VIII of the strategy presents a number of structures involved in its implementation: apart from the Joint Committee for Implementation and Monitoring, they include the inter-ministerial commissions on Roma, the regional offices on Roma and local experts in Roma affairs. A particularity of Romania's strategy is that it establishes a hierarchy in the monitoring process, providing for the creation of a number of bodies subordinate to the Joint Committee.
At inter-ministerial level it is the Joint Committee for Implementation and Monitoring of the National Strategy which has prime responsibility for the monitoring process. It was established in 2001 by an Order of the Ministry of Public Information (supplemented in 2002).
► The Joint Committee comprises the State Secretaries of the ministries concerned by the programme's implementation and is chaired by a Roma representative (holding the post of adviser to the Prime Minister's Office). The exact number of members is not stipulated, but the committee includes Roma representatives and activists and members of Roma NGOs. The text does not say whether all members have the same decision-making powers.
► The committee's tasks are planning, coordinating and monitoring the activities set out in detail in the Master Plan. The brief description of its tasks and the lack of information on its working methods detract from the transparency and effectiveness of its work. No mention is made of monitoring indicators in either the strategy or the Master Plan.
► The committee holds monthly meetings to review progress and discuss activities envisaged for the future. This means that its meetings are frequent, which guarantees improved coordination and rapid reaction in the event of problems. However, no information is given concerning to whom the meeting's conclusions are addressed. The committee appears to use its analyses itself in managing and planning activities under the strategy.
► The National Office for Roma, which comes under the Ministry of Public Information, is described as the Joint Committee's executive body. No explanation is given as to its exact role in this capacity.
► A public information document on progress in implementing the strategy was brought out in April 2003 by the Ministry of Public Information. This is a very useful document in terms of communication vis-à-vis the general public and the Roma population. It ensures a degree of transparency concerning the progress made with implementation. There are plans for a further report in the near future.
► At inter-ministerial level, 16 commissions for the Roma have been established. One is attached to the National Agency for Child Protection and Adoptions. These commissions are chaired by a State Secretary and have three or four members. They include at least one Roma representative. In this way the Roma representatives take part in the monitoring process.
► The Roma member is systematically a representative of an NGO with responsibilities concerning the strategy's implementation.
► The Regional Offices on Roma are attached to the Ministerial Commission on Roma of the Ministry of Local Public Administration.
► They are active at local level in organising, planning and coordinating the strategy activities. The involvement of local authorities in the monitoring of the national programme is of key importance.
► Their membership is the same as that of the Ministerial commissions, with the presence of at least a Roma representative.
► The local experts in Roma affairs serve as mediators between the public authorities and the Roma community. They have little to do with the monitoring process, but offer the advantage of involving the Roma in the strategy's implementation through the creation of Public Interest Foundations on Roma Affairs. These fora for public debate are of key importance to the transparency of the national strategy for Roma.
Serbia and Montenegro
A draft "Strategy for the integration and empowerment of the Roma" was drawn up in 2002 at federal level by a working group consisting of an international consultant and two Roma experts. The federal Ministry of Human and Minority Rights approved the text in December 2002. The draft was discussed within the Roma communities during a series of seminars, which ensured the participation of those concerned from the initial stages of the process.
The strategy identifies thirteen priority sectors, including the issues of displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers returned from EU countries. It also focuses on the specific situation of Roma women, the media, participation in public affairs and discrimination. It accordingly covers a very large number of fields and would seem to have taken into consideration the existing legislation and situations on the ground.
This strategy has not yet been endorsed by the Republic of Montenegro, which is currently developing its own plan of action for Roma in the context of the Decade of Roma Inclusion (an initiative by the World Bank and the Open Society Institute).
► From an institutional standpoint, Roma affairs are dealt with by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and the Ministry for the Protection of the Rights of National Minorities and Ethnic Groups of the Republic of Montenegro. Since there is no similar ministry in the Republic of Serbia, an inter-ministerial commission for the strategy for Roma has been established on the initiative of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of Serbia and Montenegro. It includes representatives of the Secretariat of the National Strategy for Roma and of the relevant ministries of the Republic of Serbia. Its working methods and the frequency of its meetings remain to be clarified.
► A Secretariat of the National Strategy for Roma was set up in April 2003 following the constitutional changes in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the creation of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. It comes under the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, which is responsible for coordination of Roma issues. One of the secretariat's tasks was to organise a public debate on the strategy during the autumn of 2003 before the document was finalised and submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval. The secretariat arranged a series of regional meetings, bringing together a total of over 200 people - representatives of the Roma communities, Roma non-governmental organisations, etc., representatives of the local self-governments, of the relevant ministries and of the Roma National Council. Following this debate the secretariat finalised the text of the strategy and submitted it for approval to the Roma National Council (established in May 2003, it adopted the text of the programme on 7 April 2004) and to the Council of Ministers (which has not yet given its approval). The secretariat was also asked to prepare a plan of action for the immediate implementation of certain strategy recommendations (even before the final text was approved).
The Secretariat of the National Strategy for Roma has already contacted the Roma National Council with a view to setting up joint working groups, which will be responsible for preparing plans of action in each sector.
► The efforts to ensure direct cooperation with the Roma community must be underlined. Moreover the strategy frequently reiterates the need to ensure effective participation of Roma (including refugees and displaced persons) in the development, implementation and monitoring of the strategy and the projects (see Chapter I, section 2.2. "Increasing participation of the Roma in decision-making and monitoring"). The text states that it is essential that the various participants' responsibilities for implementation be properly determined. The same recommendation concerning Roma participation is made in connection with the Support Fund and the Task Force for monitoring the strategy's implementation, to be established by the Ministry of Urban Planning and Construction.
Chapter III of the strategy sets out "Recommendations on the implementation of the draft strategy". Reference is made to the recommendations of various international organisations concerning monitoring and evaluation. The importance of a stage-by-stage approach, with the definition of short-term, medium-term and long-term priorities, is also underlined. Another point of interest is the inclusion of a section on possible obstacles to the strategy's implementation.
This chapter explains what is meant by a monitoring mechanism: firstly, to identify on an ongoing basis the areas on which the authorities may need to concentrate in order to attain the strategy objectives in the most expeditious and effective manner, and, secondly, enabling the Roma to hold the authorities to account for any failure to discharge their commitments. It is explained that this second point (answerability) goes beyond monitoring and that procedures should be implemented enabling the authorities to account for their action. Four such mechanisms have been identified: political (parliamentary processes), judicial, quasi-judicial (e.g. ombudspersons) and administrative. A mechanism for monitoring by the media is also being developed.
► The need for independent monitoring is stressed. The involvement of the Roma community and possibly NGOs and international organisations is described as desirable and necessary. The text also states that independent experts might also participate in the process. The involvement of independent experts in monitoring the strategy is worthy of note. However, their effective room for manoeuvre remains to be seen.
► The Roma community could be involved in the monitoring of the strategy's implementation through the participation of its representative body, the Roma National Council, set up in May 2003. This is the Roma community's body of self-government at the level of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
► The monitoring mechanism must be further clarified, and monitoring indicators should be introduced. Provision should be made for the regular issue of monitoring reports, and it should be clarified to whom these reports will be addressed and how they can be used to reorientate the implementation of the plans of action.
The Slovak Republic's national programme for Roma is divided into three separate documents, respectively adopted by the government in September 1999, May 2000 and April 2003:
a. the strategy of the government of the Slovak Republic for the solution of the problems of the Roma national minority and the set of measures for its implementation (stage 1), covering the national level;
b. the strategy of the government of the Slovak Republic for the solution of the problems of the Roma national minority as a set of specific measures for 2000 (stage 2), applied at the national, regional and local levels through decentralised administrative bodies;
c. "the basic theses of the policy conception of the government of the Slovak Republic for integration of the Roma Community", valid at national level.
Stages 1 and 2 of the strategy are intended as a long-term, systematic approach to addressing the problems of the Roma national minority in Slovakia. The theses have three timeframes - 2003, 2006 and 2010 - depending on the priority attached to the measures to be taken, which cover the fields of human rights, education, employment, housing, culture, the media and health care.
► Responsibility for implementing the strategy is shared between all the ministries concerned. The Deputy Minister for European Integration, Human Rights and Minorities and the Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for Roma Communities are in charge of coordinating all the sectoral activities. The Plenipotentiary's secretariat was established in 1999 and is mainly active at national level. However, it does have a local office in Prešov in eastern Slovakia. The Plenipotentiary has always been a Roma community representative, appointed by the government.
► There is an Inter-departmental Commission for Roma Community Affairs, which comes under the Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for Roma Communities.
► This commission is made up of representatives of the ministries concerned by the strategy.
► It has an advisory role and coordinates the action taken by the Slovak government in aid of the Roma communities. It may take any initiatives necessary to improve the circumstances of Roma within Slovakia.
► It would seem that this commission does not include any representatives of the Roma communities. Roma do, however, have representatives on the Advisory Board of the Plenipotentiary. Mention is made of their role in the strategy drafting process, but not of any participation in monitoring and evaluation. Nor is there any information on their number, term of office and decision-making powers or right of veto.
► No explanation is given concerning the inter-departmental commission's role in the strategy's monitoring and evaluation at either national or decentralised level. The documents contain no provisions on the monitoring process itself.
► The basic theses of the Slovak government's policy, drawn up in April 2003, are not clearly presented as the outcome of an evaluation, or even monitoring, of the implementation of the earlier stages.
► To increase transparency, the ministries responsible for implementing the strategy should be subject to a reporting obligation. At no stage in the strategy's implementation is provision made for any accountability for the work undertaken.
► Apart from the above-mentioned bodies, there is also a Governmental Council for National Minorities and Ethnic Groups, which is a body advising the Slovak government and was set up by decision of the government in April 1999. Roma have two representatives on this council (they are the only group to have more than one representative apart from the Hungarians, who have three). This Council is responsible, inter alia, for preparing reports on the situation and living conditions of members of minorities. It is not specified whether the council has a role in the monitoring and evaluation of the strategy, not whether it is able to submit its own evaluation reports.
Slovenia adopted a general document entitled "Programme of measures for assisting Roma" in 1995. This was followed, in 2000, by a sector-based "Programme for the employment of Roma" lasting two years.
Since no translation of the first programme is available, the following comments relate to the sector-based employment programme. The government's Office for National Minorities has prepared an evaluation of the 1995 programme, of over 100 pages, which will be made public in late September 2004.
► The Programme for the employment of Roma in Slovenia is implemented by a Coordination Group for the employment of Roma, which also has responsibility for the programme's monitoring and evaluation.
► This group comprises a representative of the Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and the Family, a representative of the Office for National Minorities, the Coordinator of the Office for National Minorities and a representative of Roma organisations. No information is given on the working group's legal status or its members' exact terms of reference, particularly the role of the Roma representative in relation to the other group members.
► Two sub-working groups have been established to implement projects in two of the country's administrative regions, provided for under the programme.
No mention is made of the frequency of meetings of this working group or the sub-groups. Nor is there any information on its financing and the decision-making process, although the latter is of vital importance to the transparency and effectiveness of the group's work.
The monitoring and evaluation process and communication strategy regarding the programme's implementation are discussed in section XII of the document under the heading "Evaluation, monitoring and promotion of the programme". Slovenia's sector-based programme differs from the majority of other programmes of this type in that the programme itself includes a section of this kind. However, this section contains no details on how monitoring and evaluation is conducted, and it is to be regretted that scant attention has been paid to this section of crucial importance for the programme's effective implementation. For lack of precise information, this section is pointless.
The communication strategy consists in publishing a presentation of the programme on the Internet, so as to permit exchanges of know-how and good practices concerning social integration of Roma. Slovenia underlines the international cooperation existing in this area.
Spain has two programmes for Gypsies, one at national and the other at regional level:
a. the national Gypsy Development Programme, adopted in 1985 (making it the oldest programme in Europe), covers tangible activities and measures and has a project implementation budget. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, more specifically the Directorate General for Social Action, Minors and the Family, is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing the programme. It also deals with Gypsy participation in the process, funds management and distribution of information.
b. the Comprehensive Plan for the Gypsy Community of Andalusia (a regional programme), set up in 1996. This study relates to the national programme.
The national programme is mainly aimed at taking socio-economic measures to support the poorest, most marginalised groups in Spain's Gypsy community. The programme does not include measures to combat the discrimination suffered by Gypsies in Spain. Measures to promote equality of opportunity in all areas of life (one of the programme's defined objectives) should also be introduced.
► A Monitoring Committee for the Gypsy Development Programme has been established under the national programme. It comprises representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) and the Autonomous Communities, with which an annual agreement is signed covering the implementation and co-financing of projects in favour of the Gypsy community. Unfortunately, Gypsy representatives do not participate in the work of this committee and hence cannot express their views on monitoring and evaluation of the programme's implementation. Institutional arrangements should be made to ensure that the objective of Gypsy participation - defined as a programme priority - is met.
At the same time, the presence of Autonomous Community representatives within this committee is to be welcomed, since it is essential that a monitoring body should be informed of the opinions and be able to study the conclusions of the agencies responsible for a programme's implementation.
The Monitoring Committee commissioned an evaluation of the programme in 2002. The results of this study should now be made public and be discussed by all the parties concerned. The transparent, participatory nature of the programme does not seem to be fully guaranteed. No information is available on the use made of monitoring indicators.
The financial resources allocated to the programme are deemed inadequate in some cases, notably for the promotion of certain initiatives benefiting the Gypsy community.
In parallel with the adoption of the national Gypsy Development Programme, a Consultative Commission for the Gypsy Development Programme was set up in 1990. Its members include representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Directorate General for Social Action, Minors and the Family), of state-backed Gypsy associations and of the federations of Gypsy associations existing at the level of the Autonomous Communities. In principle the participation of the Gypsy communities is guaranteed. However, the commission has held scarcely any meetings in recent years.
► The tasks entrusted to this commission range from exchanging information on activities implemented by Roma NGOs and the public authorities and monitoring use of the funds allocated to the national programme to making proposals on how to attain the programme's objectives and determining relevant evaluation criteria. Nonetheless it is not stipulated that the commission is required to hold regular meetings or to issue periodic reports.
The effective, proactive communication strategy to combat prejudice and negative stereotypes (one of the programme's objectives and another of the consultative commission's tasks) should be enhanced in a revised version of the programme. The aim should be to change people's perception of Gypsies as merely constituting a marginalised, underprivileged population group. The communication strategy should focus on the historical and socio-cultural backgrounds and the diversity of Gypsy communities. This will necessitate reviving the Consultative Commission for the Gypsy Development Programme.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs plays a central role in the implementation of the national programme, and the ministry's various directorates (Children and Families, Migration, the Institute for Youth, the Institute for Women, the National Institute for Social Services (INSERSO), etc.) cooperate regarding Gypsy affairs.
Other ministries participate in an inter-ministerial working group, which was established in 1990 and brings together representatives of a number of relevant ministries (Social Affairs, Trade and Tourism, Culture, Education and Science, Justice and Home Affairs, Public Works, Transport and the Environment, Health and Consumer Affairs, Labour and Social Security). This group's main task is to coordinate the activities of the various ministries, but it is not clear what role it plays in the programme's implementation and monitoring. Since 1994 this body has set up a number of bilateral commissions (with Roma and inter-ministerial working group representatives) to deal with matters regarded as priorities by the Gypsy community itself, such as itinerant trading, housing and accommodation, education programmes and vocational training.
► Within the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport there is also an Education Commission for the Gypsy Development Programme comprising representatives of the ministry and the Autonomous Communities' education authorities, which deals with issues linked to Gypsy education.
► The Comprehensive Plan for the Gypsy Community of Andalusia (regional programme) includes a section (No. 7) on monitoring and evaluation ("assessment"). It defines what is meant by "assessment":
- "… systematically collecting and analysing information on the worth and relevance of the aims and the implementation and impact of the measures taken, to serve as a basis for decision making and, where necessary, review and adjustment of the strategy.
Furthermore, at different stages of the process, assessment is a means of determining the degree of co-ordination between the different local authorities involved. Assessment can also help to determine the degree of participation of the target population.
Final assessment, once the programme has been completed, will place greater emphasis on reviewing the different measures taken and the results achieved.
The best means of guaranteeing the quality of the assessment is to set up an assessment committee to collate information from the Autonomous Community and local authorities concerning the degree of implementation of the Plan. This information could be collected using a fact sheet covering such aspects as: human and economic resources deployed, areas of intervention, agency responsible and so on."
For lack of information it is not possible to determine whether these good intentions have been acted upon.
Moreover, it can be noted that the Comprehensive Plan for the Gypsy Community of Andalusia pays particular attention to the situation of Gypsy women and gender equality, which is not often the case with this type of programme. However, the measures taken so far to promote participation of women Gypsies in public administrations and private institutions do not seem commensurate with the objectives set out in the plan.
“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
The Government of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” has not yet adopted a National Strategy for Roma. However, since the begining of this year, the Government has started preparing a draft document, which should be finalised in the middle of September. It will then be given to the Roma community and to the goverment for suggestions. It is hoped that the Strategy will be adopted by the end of this year. In preparing this draft strategy, the Government has received the assistance of the American organisation Project on Ethnic Relations (PER). The Ministry responsible for coordinating the work about the strategy is the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, and particularly the Assistant Minister.
Ukraine's State Committee on Nationalities and Migration began drawing up a five-page draft "State aid programme for the social and cultural renaissance of the Roma of Ukraine", covering the period to 2006, in late 2003.
► The programme's objective is the "integration of the Roma population in Ukraine society and gradual satisfaction of Roma ethno-social and ethno-cultural needs."
Following a seminar held in March 2004 with the participation of international experts, new recommendations were made to the state institutions at national and regional level concerning finishing touches to the text of the programme, particularly regarding the measures to be taken.
► At regional level a programme on the Roma population for the period 2003-2006 was approved by decision of the State administration of the Region of Zakarpattia on 25 September 2002. It is not clear whether the decision to establish a national programme followed from the adoption of the regional programme or whether the national programme was influenced by any monitoring of the regional programme's effects. No information is available on the regional programme.
► The national programme currently does not include any provisions on the establishment of an inter-ministerial commission, bringing together representatives of all the agencies responsible for the programme's implementation and of the Roma community, with the aim of coordinating the work on the programme. At present coordination seems to be entrusted to the State Committee on Nationalities and Migration (set up in March 2002 by presidential decree) and the structural departments on nationalities and migration within the state administrations of the regions and the cities of Kiev and Sebastopol. This way of functioning offers the advantage of involving the decentralised state bodies in the implementation of the programme.
According to the current draft of the programme many state bodies are involved in its implementation, although the responsibilities and tasks of each agency, state committee and ministry are not clearly defined. The wide variety of state authorities concerned is to be praised; nonetheless, effective individualisation of tasks is essential to ensure that each participant is answerable for its activities. The document does not stipulate how the roles are distributed among the players for specific activities. In particular, the significant absence of the Ministry of Finance from the list of players concerned may imperil the programme's financing, especially since there are no cost estimates for any of the measures planned under the programme.
The lack of involvement of Roma representatives and civil society representatives in general in the programme's development, implementation and monitoring is also regrettable.
► There is no description of the monitoring and evaluation process, and the deadlines for completion of the various measures are extremely vague, sometimes spanning several years.
The strategy devised in 2004 by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is designated "Gypsies and Travellers: A strategy for the CRE, 2004 - 2007".
This document contains information on how the Commission for Racial Equality should proceed and the action it must take. The sub-section on "Research and monitoring" of Part 9 "What the CRE will do" gives some, albeit brief and imprecise, explanations on the strategy monitoring process.
The document makes no mention of the existence of any inter-ministerial commission.
► The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is described at the very start of the document as a body set up in 1976 with the primary aim of promoting good race relations. The CRE is a publicly funded, non-ministerial public body. It is also the body responsible for implementing the strategy for Gypsies and Travellers.
► Responsibility for research and monitoring also lies with the CRE itself.
► One of the Commission's tasks is determining how to make the best use of national and local data on Gypsies and Travellers. The development of indicators for the monitoring process is clearly mentioned as an objective, but no information is given on the types of indicators concerned.
► It can be inferred from the text that the intention is that both non-governmental partners and representatives of the communities concerned by the strategy, as well as relevant government agencies, should be involved in the strategy's implementation. There are indeed government units responsible for the individual sectoral policies (accommodation, education, etc.).
► The procedures for the participation and consultation of all those concerned are not always well-defined. Some information is to be found in the sub-section on "Consultation and dialogue" of Part 9 of the document. The intention is to establish an "Internal Steering Group", which will help put the strategy into effect.
► There are also plans for an external reference group, bringing together members of the communities concerned and representatives of organisations defending their rights, in order to advise on the strategy's implementation. This body's decision-making authority and role remain to be defined when it is set up. It is to be hoped that the group's functions will include certain monitoring tasks and frequent reporting to the Internal Steering Group. Public access to these documents must also be ensured.
The documents consulted do not give any information on the infrastructure, funding or status of these two bodies.
1 The following sources were used in preparing this document:
- government replies to the questionnaire GT-ROMS (2003)2 on participation of Roma and Travellers in decision-making processes;
- texts of government strategies/programmes;
- any progress reports available;
- reports submitted in connection with monitoring of the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;
- a preliminary synopsis of sections of the strategy documents dealing with monitoring and evaluation, prepared by former Roma trainees in the Migration and Roma/Gypsies Department (Ms Lina Kondur, Ukraine, and Ms Sakibe Jashari, Kosovo).