The Catalan Government has recently approved the Romani People and Social Innovation Programme, whose objectives are to draft the new Comprehensive Plan for the Roma People, as well as to generate a new administrative structure which in the medium term will manage policies aimed at promoting the inclusion and advancement of Roma.
Over the last two decades, the government of Catalonia has made significant progress towards the recognition of the Romani people and their culture in an effort to help them achieve equality with the rest of Catalan society. The Catalan Parliament has been a trail-blazer, both in Spain and in Europe, in the recognition of Romani culture and the implementation of active policies for the social inclusion of Roma, in addition to specific policies whose formation and execution included the participation of Roma. In its first three years, the Comprehensive Plan for the Roma People in Catalonia has brought together the participation of Romani organisations, experts and professionals in the design and management of policies and actions for Roma in areas such as employment, education, health, housing, culture, justice and the promotion of associations. All of these efforts have been designed with the end goal of improving the quality of life of Roma.
Recently, the Catalan Government took an additional step forward by approving the Romani People and Social Innovation Programme, whose main objectives are to define the new Comprehensive Plan for the coming 4 years and to create a new administrative structure that groups together the various policies and actions for Romani inclusion.
Until now, the Comprehensive Plan had been operated under the auspices of the Directorate General for Civic and Community Action but did not have its own administrative structure that would enable it to operate independently from the political situation of any given time. Now, through this newly approved programme, the aim is to create a new structure with the authority to act in regards to the advancement and inclusion of Roma. This new structure will be charged with defining, implementing and evaluating policies intended for Roma in Catalonia. Its main challenge will consist of creating greater levels of involvement of the different departments of the Catalan Government both in terms of funding and implementing policies that affect Roma.
The new programme will entail the drafting of the 4th Comprehensive Plan for the Roma People in Catalonia. On this occasion departmental commissions will once again be created and made up of representatives of the Romani people as well as administrators of different departments of the Catalan Government who are involved in the Comprehensive Plan. These working commissions will be activated from September and it is expected that the final result – the 4th Comprehensive Plan – may be approved by the government in March.
Other functions to be carried out under the Romani People and Social Innovation Programme will be the commissioning of an external assessment of the 3rd Comprehensive Plan and the designing of strategies to foster a more qualitative participation of Romani organisations and of the Romani Advisory Board for Catalonia.
The purpose behind this new programme is to promote the inclusion of Roma through the implementation of innovative actions and for Roma to have more social impact than they have had thus far. And although much effort has been made so far by both Romani organisations and the government, much still remains to be done to eradicate all the social, economic and cultural inequalities that affect a significant portion of the Romani population.
→ Link to the press release from the Department of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.