8 de noviembre de 2012 | Brussels (Belgium)

ROMA-NeT is a transnational partnership of nine European cities committed to improve the social inclusion and community integration of the Roma population living in their cities. Although the Roma populations in the ROMA-NeT cities vary considerably in size, the partners now recognise the core similarities and challenges that cities are presented with but also the significant differences and city specific issues that exist. ROMA-NeT partners fully understand the critical and central role that cities have to play if Roma inclusion is to move from a concept to a functioning reality.The partnership has been in place since November 2009. The cities have followed the URBACT II methodology, and have established local support groups of key service providers and organisations working with Roma communities. The ROMA-NeT local support groups have grown their strength and knowledge base, largely because of exposure to the experiences, the practices, the points of view of other cities and thematic experts.The local stakeholder groups provide an ideal setting to develop ideas and stimulate new thinking and innovation. Each local group has co-produced and finalised a local action plan setting out the step-by-step approach they will follow, to improve services and the life opportunities for Roma populations living in their city. Each city has a long term goal of social and economic inclusion of Roma and the ROMA-NeT cities know that many small steps can bring big changes.ROMA-NeT offers a solid platform that cities can move forward from. Whilst ROMA-NeT cities continue to face big challenges of improving access to education; housing and living conditions; health services; employability and skills for Roma populations, their participation in ROMA-NET has helped them to become better organised, better networked and better equipped to face the challenges of the future.Key outcomes for ROMA-NeT cities have included having the opportunity to share experiences and being given the processes, the tools and the core knowledge to bring the right stakeholders together to facilitate the start of the change process. Many cities were working ineffectively, with disjointed services and no clear understanding of how or whether local services met the needs of the Roma community. ROMA-NeT has motivated the partner cities to think about joining up local services, to work more effectively together. These are simple ideas, sometimes difficult to know exactly how they should be put into practice; ROMA-NeT has given partners the learning time, the insight and capacity to effectively develop and drive local actions.Most importantly, ROMA-NeT cities know that they must find and invest in innovative ways to engage and to work in partnership alongside Roma communities. ROMA-NeT partners continue to need the support of European Funding but they are better prepared to meet the Roma inclusion requirements of the Common Strategic Framework 2014 to 2020, Thematic Objective 9 through their engagement with the URBACT II Roma-NeT project.The agenda is available at http://urbact.eu/fileadmin/Projects/Roma_Net/news_media/agenda8nov.pdf

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