New opportunities for vulnerable communities through the socially responsible public procurement
A panel discussion "Can Socially Responsible Initiatives offer new opportunities to vulnerable communities?" took place on 27 April in Brussels. The event aimed to shed light on the potential of socially responsible public procurement to create new opportunities for vulnerable communities, including Roma communities, while promoting gender equality and sustainable infrastructure.
The WBIF pilot project was the focal point of the discussion, exploring how socially responsible public procurement can create new employment opportunities, with a focus on Roma communities. The panel featured experts from the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDI), among others.
Enrica Chiozza, team leader, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, presented the importance of socially responsible public procurement in infrastructure investments, promoting gender equality and social inclusion.
Sunita Pitamber, Associate Director at the EBRD, presented the Inclusive and Socially Responsible Procurement pilot project, aiming to promote economic inclusion of vulnerable communities, including Roma, through building a waste management infrastructure in North Macedonia.
Katerina Kus-Ivanova Filkova, Programme Manager at the EU Delegation to North Macedonia, presented opportunities and programmes that contribute to the employment of Roma in North Macedonia, as well as pointing out the challenges of the region.
The panel discussion, moderated by Petrica Dulgheru, Director of REDI, included Álvaro Gutiérrez Maestrofrom Secretariado Gitano in Spain, who shared good practices and provided examples of how initiatives in Spain could be transferred to other countries in the region. The panellists also discussed the challenges of implementing socially responsible public procurement in the region, including the lack of awareness and understanding of the concept. They acknowledged the importance of increasing awareness and education around the concept and discussed potential solutions to address these challenges.
Peter Pollak, Member of the European Parliament, emphasised the significance of financial inclusion for the Roma population as a means of combatting discrimination in a video message. Marta Garcia Fidalgo, Roma Adviser, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations for Western Balkans, European Commission, concluded the event by underlining the importance of socially responsible public procurement in promoting economic inclusion and social cohesion in the Western Balkans.
The event was held as part of Roma Week 2023 in the European Parliament, which is dedicated to discussing the issues and challenges facing Roma communities across Europe. For more information about the panel discussion and Roma Week, please visit the event website at https://romaweek.eu/ and https://redi-ngo.eu/romaweek2023-redi-panel/