Round-table “Strengthening the role of Parliament to oversee legislation that affects Roma issues”Apr 6, 2016
Speech by Brian J.Williams
United Nations Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative
It’s my pleasure to attend this event today hosted by the Speaker of Parliament. The UN greatly welcomes the interest of Albanian elected representatives to listen to the aspirations of Roma youth, celebrate Roma culture and discuss their unique contribution to the Albanian society.
Some of us participated recently in the launch of the National Action Plan for Roma and Egyptian integration under the leadership of the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth. The Action Plan embodies the commitment of government and civil society partners to scale-up support to Roma and Egyptian communities. It illustrates Albania’s commitment to universal human rights, as well as its interest to align to the European Union social agenda. If fully resourced by Government and its partners, it aims to
· increase by 70% the number of Roma and Egyptian boys and girls completing secondary school,
· achieve universal coverage for pre-school education,
· and double the number of Roma and Egyptians involved in Vocational Training and other active employment programs
The successful implementation of this ambitious Plan will contribute significantly to Albania’s achievements of the new, universal Sustainable Development Goals, including those on poverty, inclusive and equitable service delivery in areas such as education and health care, but, perhaps most importantly, on SDG 10, focused on reducing inequalities.
The dialogue we are promoting today for Roma youth with Parliamentarians, human rights and anti-discrimination institutions, and government partners seeks to broaden partnerships for Roma inclusion and strengthen accountability mechanisms for national policies.
The example of Roma youth taking a stand and fighting for their community issues is a promising initiative by civil society to combat marginalization and discrimination. At the same time, a more proactive role of the Albanian Parliament to oversee legislation and policies that affect Roma issues is crucial for addressing the exclusion these communities face.
We, at the United Nations – with collaboration and financing of the European Union -- just embarked on a new project entitled “Economic and Social Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians - a booster for social inclusion (ESERE)”. This new programme reflects the shared values of Albania with Europe in ensuring that no member of society falls behind in accessing opportunities for growth and development.
We look forward to hear today deliberations and reiterate the commitment of UNDP to work in partnership with European Union in Albania, the development partners and all our national partners to boost inclusion and integration of Roma and Egyptian men and women.