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Open Society Foundations;
In the early post-Soviet period, Czech authorities, unlike their counterparts in some former Eastern Bloc countries, turned away from repressive drug policies and developed approaches to illicit drugs that balanced new freedoms with state authority. The end of Soviet rule meant that drug markets and the use of a wide range of new drugs attained a magnitude and visibility not previously known to Czech society.From an early stage, some pioneering health professionals with expertise in drug addiction saw that the new drug situation would require greatly expanded services for drug users and collaboration between civil society and government to achieve this expansion. They were able to influence the new government and steer it toward drug policy that would define drug use as a multisectoral problem, not an issue for policing alone.The report A Balancing Act: Policymaking on Illicit Drugs in the Czech Republic traces the development of drug policy in the Czech Republic from the post-Soviet period to the present day. The report examines the impact of the Czech Republic's evidence based approach to drug policy, compares the country's path on drug policy to that of its neighbour Slovakia and discusses challenges to maintaining this approach in the future.Watch a video produced by the Rights Reporter Foundation based on the fin
International Labour Office;
The immigrant population in the Czech Republic has grown considerably over the past 15 years, more than doubling since 2000. The 2000s also brought significant changes to the Czech labor market, and to the profile of migrants coming to the country and settling for the long term -- not least because of significant institutional and policy changes resulting from accession to the European Union, as well as the arrival of the economic crisis at the end of the decade. This changing political and economic climate coincides with substantial fluctuations in immigrants' economic outcomes.This report presents detailed labor market outcomes for immigrant groups in the Czech Republic, focusing on trends according to year of arrival, country of origin, gender, level of education, and sector of employment. The analysis, based on data from the Czech Labor Force Survey, suggests that the challenge of reducing obstacles to immigrant workers' progression into more skilled employment are worth significant policy attention. The report is part of a series that explores the labor market integration of new immigrants in several European Union countries.
Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation;
The situation of the Roma minority is one of the Czech Republic's most urgent social and human rights problems. The Czech Republic seeks to address this complex problem with a wide range of activities. The overall direction of the Czech Republic's integration policy is defined in two strategic documents: the Concept for Roma Integration 2010-2013 and the Strategy for Combating Social Exclusion 2011-2015. The former document has at the same time the status of the Czech Republic's National Strategy for Roma Inclusion (NSRI), as it was translated and sent to Brussels in response to the European Commission's request to all member states to develop national strategies for Roma inclusion. Initiated by the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation and written by a coalition of Czech non-governmental organisations (NGOs), this report is intended to provide an independent assessment of the Czech Republic's progress in achieving the goal of Roma inclusion as defined in the Concept for Roma Integration/Czech NSRI. Focussing on six topics: education, employment, health, housing, anti discrimination, and structural requirements, the European Commission provided the member states with feedback on their strategies and made recommendations as to how the strategies could be improved. With a view to providing additional feedback from the perspective of civic society organisations, the Decade Secretariat decided that the independent civic society reports would focus on the same topics.Due to this decision, this report does not cover all the dimensions of Roma integration that are covered by the Czech Concept for Roma Integration, which also includes chapters on the support of Roma identity and culture. However, the decision to limit this report to the social, economic and legal aspects of Roma integration should in no way be interpreted as a disregard for questions related to Roma identity and empowerment. On the contrary, the authors demonstrate throughout the report how the hitherto applied integration strategies fail to give the Roma communities a chance to participate actively in the process of integration. One of the most important challenges for the coming years will be to develop funding mechanisms that will be more accessible for Roma and to introduce better mechanisms for the participation of Roma in decision-making. The first part of this summary follows the report's thematic structure. In the case of each of the six thematic chapters a few key messages will be highlighted. The full text of this report provides more comprehensive information on particular policies and programmes. The second part of this summary has been used to draw attention to three particular cross-sectoral challenges which have surfaced in many of the thematic chapters.
Open Society Foundations;
In the Czech Republic, digital switch-over of television was completed in 2012, bringing expanded choice and services to the majority of households that rely on the terrestrial platform. It followed a transition period in which political stagnation and conflict among regulatory authorities impeded the development of a clear legislative framework and delayed digitization by almost a decade.Since the completion of the digital switch-over, media policy has fallen further down the list of political priorities. While this has enhanced the autonomy of regulators to some extent, it has also left a policy vacuum in key areas that warrant intervention.Overall, neither the digital switch-over nor the development of online platforms has diversified the overall news offer in a substantive and meaningful way. Competition in digital terrestrial television—still the dominant news platform—has stagnated, while both print media and new citizen journalist initiatives are facing a crisis of funding that has transcended the economic downturn. As a result, there has been a marked, if varying, trend toward tabloidization and a pressing need to sustain outposts of serious and quality news in all sectors.
Open Society Foundations;
The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI) studies and reports aim to build a comprehensive and detailed picture of the extent of early childhood provision and services, available to Romani families. The studies have been carried out in five countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia—and endeavour to identify the major obstacles that Romani families face in accessing high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood care and education. More generally, the studies and reports deliver data and information about communities that are often ignored or misrepresented by official statistics, government policies, ministerial strategies and plans for spending.As previous studies carried out by Open Society Foundations have shown—No Data—No Progress, 2010—the lack of reliable data hampers any attempt to measure the impact of government or international NGO intervention. Planning services and allocating resources to Romani communities are the consequence of "guesswork" rather than knowledge and careful study. The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion reports present a distillation of the most recent and reliable data to be had, in these circumstances, drawn from the actual communities themselves, through interviews and focus groups. Government strategies, policies and action plans are all assessed in this context; what has been the effect of the initiatives aimed at improving the economic and social position for Romani families, in these countries?This Overview Report draws upon data from the five country studies, carried out by Romani and non-Romani researchers working together, to present what are the themes and topics of most relevance to families and young children in settlements and neighbourhoods across central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. A profound lack of equality of access and services, beset by numerous obstacles, characterizes the overall picture, for Roma. The numbers of Romani children that have access to good quality, early childhood education and care provision or who can participate in community and home-based learning programmes, remains minimal in comparison with the surrounding, majority populations.The desperate need for Romani children to be able to access, at least for two years, high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood education and care services and benefit from effective home visiting and community-based early childhood development (ECD) programmes, is a particular theme throughout the report. This is a minimum requirement that the partner organizations (UNICEF, Open Society Foundation's Early Childhood Program and Roma Education Fund) advocate for at national and international levels, if progress is to be made in improving education outcomes for Romani children.The scale of the changes that need to be undertaken in order to provide equal opportunity for Romani children and families requires that national governments and international institutions (such as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Union's Parliament) act, following the recommendations that these reports deliver.
Presently, the culture of open discussion seems to be threatened in an increasing number of countries. In Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE's) democracies, recent political developments appear to jeopardize progresses made in the past. Against this background, this study aims at shedding light on the dynamics of CEE'scivil society and gives a brief overview of the status quo and recent developments that directly affect civil society. The study was conducted by the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), commissioned by and in collaboration with ERSTE foundation as well as with a group of country experts. The inclusion of expert assessments on civil society aims at giving a voice primarily to practitioners. Therefore, the study included an online survey in each participating country, addressing CSO representatives operating in various fields of activity.
Compiled by Joerg Forbrig, Programme Officer and Pavol Demes, Director for Central and Eastern Europe, of the German Marshall Fund in the US, this article is based on a presentation delivered to the annual meeting of the Grantmakers East Group in Sofia, Bulgaria, in October 2004. Presenting the preliminary results of research carried out on home-grown grantmakers funding civic initiatives in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, it demonstrates why indigenous grantmakers can be considered a potential source of funding, after the departure of foreign grantmakers from this area.
The Association of Social Gerontologists;
A publication called Aging in the Social Space is a compilation of studies, which deal with theoretical understanding and empirical solutions, learning about problem spheres, specifying content parallels of social, legal, economic, moral and ethical views on senior issues in society, which are closely related to each other and are interconnected.This publication focus on the case study of Poland. It is supposed to provide a multidimensional view of old age issues and issues related to aging and care for old people in society. We believe that it is natural also to name individual spheres, in which society has some effect, either direct or indirect, within issues concerning seniors. Learning about these spheres is the primary prerequisite for successful use of social help to seniors in society.The work elaborates a very important topic of our time, this is of an aging population, which many countries with their established social, political, legislative, health and other systems are not prepared for. The authors compared the global data on the aging of the population with information relating to the aging of the population in Poland."This publication consists of two large chapters with subheadings. In the first part the authors describe the elderly in social area and in the second part of a social policy relating to older people. The first part explains the different concepts and presents a new paradigm, which refers to the phenomenon of active aging. The second part presents the analysis of the aging population in selected major cities and presents documents and strategies necessary for further development of the quality of life of elderly people. The case studies technique enables the authors the identification of a number of factors and in-depth analysis of researched topics for each city. Theoretical bases complement to the research findings of other authors and adds their findings."Doc. dr Bojana Filej, the Alma Mater Europaea – European Center, Maribor, Slovenia"The publication, in my humble opinion, can be dedicated primarily to researchers of social gerontology topics, primarily students from the humanities and social sciences. Given the systematic increase in the number of people from abroad studying in Poland (including the Erasmus program) this book can also be used as teaching material to courses on subjects such as: geragogics, social gerontology, social pedagogy and sociology."Prof. dr hab. Jan Maciejewski, the University of Wrocław, Poland
Open Society Foundations;
National governments in Europe can greatly enhance the implementation of their National Roma Integration Strategies and social inclusion more broadly. One proven way of doing this is by providing assistance to local authorities and organizations to access and implement projects financed by European Structural and Investment Funds.The Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma Program of the Open Society Foundations has worked for more than five years with local communities to leverage EU funds for social inclusion projects targeting Roma, as well as other disadvantaged communities. This paper summarizes the experiences and methodologies employed by the program, bearing in mind that national authorities—particularly in new member states benefiting from Structural Funds—might be keen to replicate a similar model to advance their own social inclusion goals.National governments can establish similar support mechanisms for local communities in order to intensify local spending of EU funds for social inclusion. This assistance is most relevant for EU Member States with sizeable Roma communities including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.
Open Society Foundations;
Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma (Making the Most) is an instrument to connect the Roma Decade objectives to EU financial resources, and thus support European, national, and local governments in realizing the targets of the Decade of Roma Inclusion. Through project development assistance, financial and human capacity-building, and advocacy, MtM seeks to create a critical mass of concerned governmental actors at all levels to keep Roma inclusion high on the policy agenda. MtM is concerned with problems such as the weak visibility of Roma issues in the implementation of EU cohesion policies at the national and local levels; resource and expertise disadvantages; and overly bureaucratic funding procedures, which block access of the most deprived to rights and opportunities.
Open Society Foundations;
In this report, commissioned by the Open Society European Policy Institute, the author, Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, sets out to provide a shadow report to the European Commission on the practical implementation of the EU Roma Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies between 2011 and 2016.The report is based on desk research and 27 responses to a questionnaire distributed to active Roma and pro-Roma civil society organizations in nine countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It focuses primarily on the European dimension of the design and implementation of the EU Roma Framework, providing a critical overview of its relevance for the process of implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies in member states.The report finds that although the very existence of the EU Roma Framework is an achievement in itself and represents a turning point for Roma communities in Europe, by design, it has several major shortcomings. It concludes that post-2020, the EU Roma Framework should be maintained but should undergo a substantial reform that will reorient the current policy design. The recommendations for the EU Roma Framework reform post-2020 are detailed in the report.
Open Society Foundations;
The Vademecum encourages concrete steps and comprehensive interventions that result in desegregation and integration of marginalized groups, among them Roma communities in five Making the Most countries. The Vademecum lists:the minimum criteria related to local level interventions based on evidence in the field;the needed background regulation and practical measures by the national states; andthe further steps from the part of the EU in order to facilitate the implementation of the ERDF regulation.The Vademecum is accompanied by a Supplementary Background Document that summarizes the technical details and experiences of Roma related housing programs and of the use of EU funds for marginalized Roma communities in the five MtM countries.