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The good practices identified in this booklet are initiatives focussing on a specific subject: policing and justice, education and youth, and Roma empowerment. In order to have maximum benefit, such initiatives need to form part of a wider strategy to combat systemic, institutional discrimination and to promote Roma inclusion. For example, Roma-oriented education initiatives that are not supported by wider strategies to combat underlying poverty and to increase employment opportunities will have only a limited impact. Experience of tackling discrimination and exclusion of other minorities and migrant groups across Europe and elsewhere in the world supports this view strongly.
In a number of countries, integrated strategies are now beginning to be developed, at national and/or local and regional levels. Experience of implementation of integrated strategies, however, is still limited. NGOs frequently express concern at the failure of governments to proceed with implementation quickly and effectively, and the unwillingness to establish structures and to provide adequate resources to support such implementation. A further limitation is the lack of adequate monitoring systems - both for recording incidents of racism and discrimination, and for evaluating the impact of policies on the situation of Roma. The collection of statistical data which can be analysed by ethnic group is an essential requirement for the formulation and evaluation of strategies on Roma and minority issues, and ways must be found to overcome legal and constitutional obstacles to the collection of such data.
Examples of integrated strategies at national level include the following:
ˇ In Spain, the government was one of the first to elaborate a national development plan for Roma, the implementation of which is primarily the responsibility of the regional autonomous governments, together with their Roma NGO partners.
ˇ In Greece, the government introduced a comprehensive national action plan in 1996, which focusses primarily on living conditions and the promotion of social integration.
ˇ in Finland, the Advisory Board on Romani Affairs has recently developed proposals for a strategy to the national government.
ˇ In Lithuania, the government has approved a 'Roma Integration Programme into Lithuanian Society for 2000-2004', which is being implemented first in Vilnius and afterwards in other cities and regions of Lithuania.
ˇ In Croatia, the government has introduced a programme which focuses primarily on measures for the integration of children in the school system, but which also addresses issues such as employment, welfare and living conditions of families.
ˇ In Ireland, the government established a 'Task Force on the Travelling Community' which in 1995 produced a comprehensive report with recommendations: this was commended by ECRI and continues to provide a framework for action.
Also, in the five transition countries of Central/Eastern Europe that have the largest Roma populations, comprehensive national-level strategic plans for the integration of Roma are currently being developed and implemented, with substantial EU and international donor support:
ˇ The Slovak Government has elaborated a 'Government Strategy for Addressing Problems of the Romani Minority', which is now in process of implementation.
ˇ The Bulgarian Government has adopted a 'Framework Programme for the Equal Integration of Roma in Bulgarian Society'.
ˇ The Hungarian Government in 1999 adopted a programme of 'medium-term' measures relating to the Roma population, and a consultant from the Council of Europe is assisting it to elaborate a long-term strategy.
ˇ The Czech Government is currently considering a proposal for a 'Concept of Government Policy towards Members of the Romany Community'.
ˇ The Romanian Government is in process of formulating a national strategy for integration of Roma with EU support under the PHARE Programme.
Examples of integrated strategic approaches at the municipal and regional levels include the following:
ˇ The city of Brno in the Czech Republic has been one of the first municipalities to produce a strategic plan on Roma issues, which was prepared with the support of consultants from the Council of Europe.
ˇ The town of Pardubice in the Czech Republic is also in the process of developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic plan for integration of Roma.
ˇ The city of Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany has an extensive programme of activities focussing on the needs of Roma and Sinti (especially those from Eastern Europe), which forms part of the broader strategy of its Department for Multicultural Affairs (AMKA).
ˇ In Poland, the Government is supporting the development of an integrated strategy for Roma in the Malopolska Region, following a pilot project supported by the UK Know-How Fund.
ˇ In Hungary, a set of integrated projects in selected regions is being developed with assistance under the PHARE Programme, following a successful pilot in Tatabánya.
ˇ In Belgium, in the Wallonia region, the mayors of six cities have agreed to cooperate on a common policy for the integration of Travellers, and to share experience and cooperate with Traveller NGOs in implementing this.
All of the above examples incorporate initiatives focussing on the three areas covered by this booklet. Further information can be obtained from the relevant national, regional and municipal authorities.