NCCRI Progress Report 1998-2000: Section 3
Progress Report 1998-2001
The Progress report is structured around the aims and objectives of the NCCRI as set out in its terms of reference. These are summarised as follows:
1.0 To act as an advisory role.
One of the key aims of the NCCRI is to act in an advisory role to governmental bodies. The NCCRI continues to meet this key objective through a number of specific mechanisms, including policy submissions, meetings with government Ministers on key issues, presentations to Oireachtas Committees and participation in a wide range of government advisory committees.
1.1 Policy submissions
One of the key mechanisms through which the NCCRI has acted in an advisory role to Government has been through the drawing up of policy submissions to Government following roundtable meetings, seminars and other forms of consultation. Some of the key policy submissions that have been developed to date include the following:
1.2 Meetings with the Minister on relevant policy issues.
The NCCRI has met with John O Donoghue, TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on a number of formal and informal occasions to discuss issues related to the role and remit of the NCCRI. The NCCRI has also met or has corresponded with other senior Ministers and senior civil servants on relevant issues related to the role and work of the NCCRI.
1.3 Presentations to the Oireachtas Committees
The NCCRI has made presentations to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Human Rights on the Equal Status Bill and the legislation to establish a Human Rights Commission. The NCCRI has also made a presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs in relation to the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.
1.4 Participation in Government Advisory Committees
The NCCRI has played in active role in contributing to anti racism and intercultural policy through participation in a wide range of advisory and sub committees established by the Department of the Taoiseach, Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Health and Children and the Equality Authority. Areas of concern include children’s rights, legal protection, customer services, promoting equality and human rights.
1.5 Outcomes from the Advisory Role
The outcomes from the advisory role of the NCCRI can measured in a number of different ways. Sometimes there is clear acknowledgement of the role of the NCCRI in developing policy at other times it is acknowledged that the NCCRI has contributed to the development of policy as part of a wider process of policy development where is more difficult to identify individual contributions. Some examples of the outcomes of these interventions are as follows:
2.0 To promote the development and continuation of strategic initiatives to address racism and promote interculturalism
One of the NCCRI’s primary roles is to promote integrated Government and NGO dialogue to address racism. The primary mechanism to progress this agenda is through the work of the NCCRI Board and its sub committees and through developing strategic links with other national organisations with the potential to impact on racism. Initiatives related to the development and continuation of strategic initiatives to address racism and promote interculturalism include:
National and regional roundtables are a very important way of involving key sectors in the initiatives that the NCCRI has prioritised. Roundtables were held on the following issues: (attendance in brackets)
There is a broad range of outcomes to these initiatives. In particular the roundtables have provided the ‘space’ to facilitate government and NGO discussion and action on the issues of racism and related policy. In this regard the NCCRI has sought to work as a catalyst to develop both national more localised strategies to address racism.
Roundtable meetings throughout the country have also served as a valuable resource in providing accurate and up to date information on related policy issues. They have also allowed participants to consider the most appropriate models for policy responses at regional and local level.
To resource this process the NCCRI has established community development unit, which is funded by the Department of Social Community and Family affairs under the Community Development Programme.
3.0 To encourage integrated action towards acknowledging, understanding and celebrating cultural diversity
Acknowledging and responding to cultural diversity and the promotion of intercultural approaches are relatively new concepts in Ireland. However there are a range of government policies arenas, such as the area of education, where new policy initiatives are beginning to reflect commitments to diversity and equality. A key part of the work of the NCCRI is concerned with consolidating and enhancing intercultural approaches within education policy and promoting the development of intercultural approaches in other key arenas of public policy. Initiatives in this area include:
The outcomes of these initiatives include
4.0 Increase awareness of racism and interculturalism through working with government authorities on public education, awareness initiatives and research programmes
The NCCRI will be participating in the national public awareness programme on racism that will be coordinated by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law reform. The Evaluation/Plan for the Programme was drawn up by the NCCRI following an extensive consultation process. The awareness programme will seek to build on the previous work of the NCCRI and agencies such as the Equality Authority through the ‘True Colours’ initiative and public awareness strategies undertaken during European Year Against Racism in 1997. The NCCRI also participated in related initiatives such as ‘racism in the workplace week’. The NCCRI is also developing its capacity to develop a strategic and resourced approach to anti-racism training and the development of resource materials. A summary of the initiatives undertaken in this area include:
The outcomes from these initiatives includes:
5.0 Providing a national framework for reacting and responding to, and consulting with EU, UN and other international bodies.
The NCCRI is continuing to deepen its contacts and relationships with key EU, UN and other international bodies, including the European Commission; the European Parliament; EU Monitoring Committee on Racism and Xenophobia; The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI); The European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
6.0 Profile and Establishment Issues
The public profile of the NCCRI has increased significantly through a number of strategies, including:
6.2 Establishment issues
The remit and capacity of the NCCRI has developed strongly since it was established. This is reflected in the rise in core funding to the NCCRI from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform from 1998 to the present
In addition to the rise in core funding, the NCCRI has been allocated a further £50,000 from the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs to cover the period 2000-2002. This reflects positively on the work of the NCCRI to date, but also creates a range of challenges on how best to maximise the impact of the extended role of the National Consultative Committee over the next three years.
6.3 The optimum future role for the NCCRI
The NCCRI will seek to continue to work closely with bodies such as the Equality Authorities, the Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Divisions of Government Departments to ensure that emerging institutions work in a way that is complimentary and which encourages synergies of action and approach. The NCCRI will seek to develop an optimum role, taking into account these recent developments and consulting closely with the organisations we work with.