Cooperation through Cooperatives
Bogdanka Tasev Perinovic

UNDP Serbia

Focus Summary

Presentation of cooperative model and cooperation at the local level as a tool for fostering sustainable integration of returnees in Serbia. In addition, the special attention was paid to women, youth and children as the most sensitive groups of returnees. The aim of the workshop was to continue the debate on the challenges Roma returnees are facing as well as to discuss other strategies of sustainable integration of Roma. Finally, the participants were invited to discuss modalities and ways in which cooperatives could contribute to integration of the most sensitive returnee groups as well.

Key Insights
  • The 2015 migration crisis has posed severe challenges for the European Union and has an impact on all asylum-related policies.
  • Despite the fact that only one percent of requests submitted so far in Germany and other EU countries were considered admissible, Serbian citizens continue to apply for the asylum.
  • The increase of unfounded asylum applications lodged by Serbian citizens threatens to jeopardize the visa-free regime granted to Serbia in 2009. Four out of five registered returnees under the readmission agreement are of Roma origin.
  • Capacities of local self-governments in dealing with inclusion of this scale are limited. Through the cooperation model, we are aiming to demonstrate that returnees represent a development potential for local communities both from an economic aspect, as well as the aspect of a democratic society.
Key take-outs from the ISHHR 2017 Conference (industry feedback, networking, peer presentations):


Future goals — what’s next?

Our pilot project entitled, “Reintegration of Roma Returnees in Serbia”, provides better access to social inclusion, employment, education and housing of the Roma who were denied asylum in Germany and other EU countries and had to return to Serbia.

Pilot efforts in support of primarily Roma returnees, demonstrate the value of an innovative approach to reintegration – the cooperation model. This is a coordinated and focused partnership engaging partners at all levels of government, local authorities and communities.

How can local / national / international media better assist in bringing the vital issues discussed at ISHHR 2017 to light, and further encourage real, positive change and understanding?

Inter-linkages need to be taken into account in all support measures as parts of an integrated approach to the social inclusion of Roma returnees.
We’ll need to continue working closely together AND to grow our existing partnership by including more businesses as partners, to ensure that we can deliver on our shared commitment:
Let’s not leave the Roma returnees behind!

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