Sustainable development


The Roma are Europe’s largest ethnic minority, and among the most deprived peoples in the region.  Of an estimated 10-12 million in the whole of Europe, around one million live in the Western Balkans. Estimates for Turkey range from .5 to 2.5 million. 

For the last 16 years, UNDP has worked with partners to collect evidence on the situation of Roma. Reliable data and solid analysis are prerequisites for assessing Roma access to human rights and basic services, and for informing policies designed to improve access. While discrimination and prejudice are important drivers of their exclusion, the data also point to a series of deeper, more systemic development challenges facing Roma communities in the region.

Roma poverty and exclusion, and the multiple deprivations experienced by their communities, require a comprehensive human development response involving both Roma and their neighbouring societies. Expanding people’s choices and opportunities to live a life they value is the foundation of any Roma-targeted development.

In Serbia, a displaced Roma woman's baby has registration papers but she and her husband do not. Photo: Jodi Hilton/UNDP

There are three dimensions of UNDP’s work on Roma inclusion:

  • The generation of comprehensive, comparable regional data on the status of Roma exclusion, as well as data driven policy research;
    The 2017 Regional Survey on the Socio-Economic Position of Roma, carried out in the Western Balkans and Turkey, will make a major contribution to filling the gap in the availability of up-to-date data needed to monitor and inform policies aimed at the social inclusion of Roma.  It will also inform the EU’s and enlargement countries’ commitment to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda, through the design, implementation, and monitoring of policies preventing and curbing social exclusion and inequalities. 
  • Operational support to national, local, and sectoral institutions focusing on Roma Inclusion; and
  • Designing and implementing local development initiatives to benefit Roma communities.

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