Elaboration of the joint planning finalized successfully in Shumen

Elaboration of the joint planning finalized successfully in Shumen

Report by Liliya Makaveeva, ROMED/ROMACT National Project Officer for Bulgaria

On the 15 of January 2015, the Working Group consisting of 13 employees from the administration of the Municipality of Shumen under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Zhivka Toneva and the Community  Action Group established within the framework of EC and  CoE ROMED and ROMACT Joint Programmes finalized successfully the joint elaboration of the Municipal Action Plan for the Integration of Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin and other citizens in a vulnerable social situation. A strategic document covering the period between 2015 – 2020, the Action Plan addresses priority issues faced by the Roma community in the fields of education, health, employment, housing and infrastructure, culture, rule of law and non-discrimination.

The elaboration of the document went through a long, albeit constructive process of strategic planning which actively involved all stakeholders. An important role was played by the Community Action Group (CAG-Shumen), which discussed in detail the problems of Roma with the community representatives, with a focus on the factors causing these problems and on the possible solutions. The members of the CAG drew the attention to the responsibilities and commitments to be taken by both the representatives of the local authorities and institutions as well as by the community in order to achieve a successful integration process at local level.

Approximately a year ago, in January 2014, the Municipality of Shumen responded positively to the creation of the Community Action Group and fully supported the dialogue and cooperation with their citizens of Roma origin. The municipality considers it a particular success that the integration plan is well thought through, realistic and integrated into the municipal development plan, facts which suggests that its implementation is secured. "I consider it a particular success that this time we rely on the clear commitment and joint implementation of the planned activities and measures as well as on a monitoring technology, which implies transparency, thanks to the participation of the Local Council, citizens and the media," said Mr. Nayden Kosev, Director of  municipal department “Education & Culture”.

Participants are much satisfied with this achievement, all the while remaining aware that the bigger part of the work is yet to come, when the effective implementation begins – after the the approval of the plan by the Municipal Council scheduled for the end of January 2015.

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