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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Brooklyn New York - November 14, 2022 - The World Roma Federation has entered into an affiliation agreement with the World Fund for Development Planning as well as a separate cooperation agreement for the implementation of a special stakeholder's group within the UN System under the auspices of ECOSOC, and the High-Level Political Forum. The World Roma Federation, an international organization, is a platform for Roma civil society organizations. It is a network of Roma organizations from multiple countries who work to promote and safeguard the rights and interests of the world’s Roma communities.

The purpose of this affiliation is to strengthen relations between the World Roma Federation and WFDP for the purposes of advocacy, policy development, and joint programs of work. WFDP is an intergovernmental organization that implements its policies through more than 11,000 members in more than 35 countries.

Some of the objectives of the agreement are:

  • To promote intercultural dialogue.

  • To accelerate reduction in poverty among Roma and other disadvantaged Communities

  • To protect the rights of all disadvantaged persons.

  • To ensure the right of all Roma in Europe to an adequate standard of living.

The group emphasizes that Roma poverty is a predominantly social problem, and it must be tackled by creating a top-down mechanism. In order to accomplish its goals, the group will develop a package of policies which consist of:

  • Education and training; - Program of education and training to create a skilled, educated and mobile labour force.

  • Employment - - Creation of opportunities for employment, including policies to increase labour market participation rates among Roma (including through job vacancies)

  • Labour market policies and access to sustainable sources of income; measures aiming at increasing productivity in the labour market which could include providing credit.

  • Healthcare

  • Housing and communal infrastructure

  • Social protection.

The World Roma Federation believes the EU ignores a number of factors which contribute to the Roma poverty in Europe, such as their access to natural resources, unequal distribution of land and urban space and discrimination rather than a lack of resources. A European Union report on the situation of Roma in 10 countries, published in 2016 and updated in 2022, found that Roma households suffered from a wide range of economic problems including high unemployment rates, lack of access to social transfers and an under-representation at the top levels of society. Roma people's lower level of education hinders them from finding appropriate employment. This problem is magnified by a lack of employment training programs targeted specifically towards Roma populations. Poverty is just one part of the story – some Roma believe they are in debt because they are Gypsy, which can lead them to feel ashamed or like they must hide their identity.

It is encouraging to see that more and more organizations are coming together to advocate for change. One of the group’s main goals is to have a Regional Institution for Roma Communities in Brussels, which would provide a greater degree of support and protection for Romani people in the EU. If groups like this are able to organize effectively against discrimination and prejudice head on, we imagine life for many Romani people will be a lot easier in the years to come.

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