Lexicon and definitions

The term “Roma” used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.


A ‘good practice’ is “a process or methodology that has been shown to be effective in a context and might be effective in another too” (David Skyrme Associates. 2008); “A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark” (Business Dictionary); “A good practice is defined as anything that has been tried and shown to work in some way - whether fully or in part but with at least some evidence of effectiveness - and that may have implications for practice at any level elsewhere. Three possible levels of good practice flow from this: promising practices, demonstrated practices, and replicated (or best) practices[1] (Olivier Serrat).


The following definitions are extracted from the abovementioned CM/Rec (2008)5 on policies for Roma.

A ‘policy’ is an overall plan embracing general goals and procedures and intended to guide and determine present and future decisions, including legislation and programming.

A ‘strategy’ is a detailed plan based on long-term objectives for achieving positive results in situations, such as Roma employment, or a skill in planning for such situations.

A ‘programme’ is a series of projects with a common overall objective.

A ‘project’ is a series of activities with set objectives, designed to produce a specific outcome within a limited time frame.

The ‘project purpose’ is the central objective of the project. The purpose should address the core problem, and be defined in terms of sustainable benefits for the target group(s). There should only be one project purpose per project.

An ‘objective’ is the description of the aim of a project or programme. In its generic sense it refers to activities, results, project purpose and overall objectives.

An ‘output’ is the clearly identified products emerging from activities.

‘Results’ are the products of the activities undertaken, the combination of which achieve the project purpose, namely the beginning of enjoyment of sustainable benefits for the target groups.

‘Impact/outcomes’ are the effect of the project on its wider environment, and its contribution to the broader sectoral objectives summarised in the project’s overall objectives, and on the achievement of the overarching policy objectives.

An ‘indicator’ is an observable change or event which provides evidence of change, whether this be short-term or long-term change. They can be revealing of effort and effect at all levels from outputs to objectives.

‘Milestones/benchmarks’ are a type of objectively verifiable indicator providing indications for short- and medium-term objectives (usually activities) which facilitate measurement of achievements throughout a project rather than just at the end. They also indicate times when decisions should be made or action should be finished.

‘Participation’ is the active involvement of a person or a group of people within an activity and goes beyond consultation to being a form of active, continuing and effective engagement.

‘Monitoring’ is the systematic and continuous assessment of the progress of a piece of work over time, enabling actors to verify that things are going to plan and make adjustments in a methodical way.

‘Evaluation’ is the periodic assessment of the relevance, performance, efficiency and rate of achievement of the general objective.

‘Dissemination’ is the wide diffusion of points of knowledge, products developed and project results (for example, methods, products, educational programmes, instruments/tools, models, insights and policy ideas) among relevant target groups playing a part in the mainstreaming process.

‘Mainstreaming’ is a continuous and process-oriented strategy to integrate working methods targeting particular groups or specific aspects of a situation, in regular organisational policies, aiming, in the end, at influencing policy and implementation, and generating fundamental changes. Examples: horizontally (within branches or sectors of similar organisations), vertically (within local, regional or national policy) or transnationally (within partner organisations or through bodies such as the European Commission or the Council of Europe).

‘Positive action’: “With a view to ensuring full equality in practice, the principle of equal treatment shall not prevent any member state from maintaining or adopting specific measures to prevent or compensate for disadvantages linked to racial or ethnic origin.” (EC Directive 2000/43/EC). “The law should provide that the prohibition of racial discrimination does not prevent the maintenance or adoption of temporary special measures designed either to prevent or compensate for disadvantages suffered by [Roma and/or Travellers] or to facilitate their full participation in all fields of life. These measures should not be continued once the intended objectives have been achieved.” (ECRI General Policy Recommendation No. 7 on national legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination, paragraph 5).

[1] Some prefer to use the term “best practice” but it is debatable whether there is a single “best” approach and approaches are constantly evolving and being updated.