Joined-up governance: connecting fundamental rights


The project addresses the need to support the implementation of fundamental rights at the local and regional level with concrete tools and good practice examples. The project will provide policy makers with practical tools and models for effective multi-level cooperation in implementing fundamental rights. Through focus group research with local and national officials in a number of pilot countries, the FRA has mapped and analysed existing practices, challenges and tested solutions. Lessons learned, tools and practical advice will be compiled in an online toolkit for fundamental rights actors across the different levels of government.


Fulfilling fundamental rights is a shared responsibility across government levels. But often a gap remains between rights on paper and rights on the ground. FRA therefore engaged in research to examine how this gap can be overcome by adopting a strategy that brings together different levels of government, as local and regional authorities are responsible for many policy areas which have impact on people's fundamental rights. This follows the Recommendation of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on implementing human rights nationally (2009).


FRA undertook qualitative research on fundamental rights practices in: Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The research looked at: asylum, anti-discrimination, gender equality, social cohesion and integration.

The research was based on focus group discussions with local, regional and national government officials. Results were analysed and compared to get a comprehensive view on how different levels of government can work together to protect fundamental rights. Successful models of cooperation are being tested in fundamental rights projects in: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The findings will be analysed together with an external Advisory Group of ten international and national experts on fundamental rights and multi-level governance, from organisations such as the EU Committee of the Regions, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UN Office of the High Commissioner for human rights.


>> Access the toolkit >>


Joining up for fundamental rights - Flyer

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Project Manager: 
Andreas Accardo
Andreas Accardo

Andreas Accardo

Job Title: 
Head of Executive Office

Joined-up governance: partners


National and local governments in five EU countries are cooperating with FRA on this project. Associated experts from inter-governmental organisations and academia provided further inputs and international perspectives.

 Belgium Federal Ministry of Justice, Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Flemish Government (Services for the General Government Policy, Equal Opportunities in Flanders), Government of Wallonia (Service public de Wallonie - Direction de la cohesion sociale), Cities of Antwerp, Mons, Herstal and Roeselaere
 The Netherlands Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), Cities of Utrecht, Maastricht and Nijmegen
 Spain Ministry of Labour and Immigration (General Directorate for the Integration of Immigrants, Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia), Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), Region of Andalucía, Cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Terrassa and Roquetas de Mar
 Sweden Ministry of Employment, Swedish Association of Local and Regional Authorities (SALAR), Region of Västra Götaland, Cities of Huddinge and Sundsvall
 United Kingdom Ministry of Justice, Cities of Hackney, Herefordshire and London Borough of Tower Hamlets
 The Czech Republic Municipality of Ostrava
 Italy City of Turin, RE.A.DY network (National network of public authorities responsible for combating discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity)
 Bulgaria Municipality of Novi Pazar, Amalipe - Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance
 International organisations and EU bodies European Union Committee of the Regions - Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional Affairs and External Relations (CIVEX), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Council of Europe, European Commission, EUROCITIES, Open Society Institute (OSI)
Independent experts Elisabeth Abiri, Ph.D. Senior Advisor, Human Rights Implementation Expert, Emerga Consulting Ltd, Gothenburg, Sweden
Klaus Starl, Executive Secretary of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Austria
Michele Grigolo, Centre for Social Studies (CES)
Jiwan Raheja, Independent Consultant


Additional information

Joined-up governance: Additional information

FRA work with local and regional authorities

The FRA works closely with the European Union Committee of the Regions (CoR) and with local and regional authorities in promoting fundamental rights.

The FRA and the Committee of the Regions have set up an Annual Dialogue to discuss fundamental rights themes of relevance regionally and locally.  The Annual Dialogue allows FRA and the CoR: to share knowledge on existing local and regional fundamental rights good practice; to discuss opportunities for action at EU and at Member State levels; as well as discuss the need for joined-up- cooperation between the various levels.

Read more about FRA’s work at local and regional level in the CoR page in the Cooperation section.

What does “joined-up governance” mean?

Joined-up governance describes a strategy that seeks to coordinate the development and implementation of policies and actions across the various levels of government – local, regional and national. The aim is to address fundamental rights issues in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

The strategy brings together government departments and agencies, local specialised bodies and a range of private and voluntary organisations, working across organisational boundaries towards a common goal.

The ultimate objective of joined-up fundamental rights governance is to promote the comprehensive delivery to everybody in society of government services that comply with fundamental rights standards.


Joining up fundamental rights - Toolkit

Online toolkit for local, regional and national public officials

This toolkit will assist officials on ways to integrate fundamental rights thinking into policy making, service delivery, and administrative practices.

>> Access the toolkit >>


Joining up for fundamental rights - Flyer

[pdf]en (272.51 KB)