The two-day international workshop and final conference held in Trieste on 17-19 March was organised by the ICS, Consorzio Italiano di Solidarietà – Ufficio Rifugiati, Onlus (Italian Consortium for Solidarity – Refugees Office NGO). The gathering, co-funded by the CEI Cooperation Fund under the Extraordinary Call covering migration, aimed at creating bonds and cooperation relations in order to spread a reception culture and methodology for promoting more effective integration programmes for refugees and asylum seekers.

NGO representatives from Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia had the chance to exchange opinions about the current situation as well as share their experiences on how the reception system worked in each country, including: procedures for claiming asylum; the process and measures put at the disposal of asylum seekers upon their arrival; applications of National and European laws, including the controversial Dublin regulation and specific issues such as the reception system of non-accompanied minors in the various countries.

During the workshop, the challenges faced by each country were debated upon, bringing to light the differences between EU and non-EU countries. The need for a coordinated and coherent system with a human rights approach that would allow asylum seekers to exert their right to international protection was also highlighted.

The pilot model of the Italian SPRAR Programme was presented. It is based in a decentralised system with an essential participation of municipalities and NGOs, very much appreciated by the participants. The advantages and disadvantages, as well as the possibilities and challenges of replicating the system in other countries of the Balkan route were discussed.

The event constituted  a great opportunity for the NGO’s to create an international network in the field of refugees and asylum seekers’ protection and to develop and exchange abilities to protect their fundamental rights and carry out sound and safe local reception systems along the transnational area.

The last session of the workshop witnessed the presence of the CEI Focal Point for Migrations, Ugo Poli.  He outlined  the conclusions of the event celebrated in Skopje on 17 March organised by MARRI and NALAS - also co-financed by CEI Cooperation Fund and highlighted important synergies.

A representative of the UNHCR  - who participates in the Territorial Commission for the Recognition of International Protection  - answered important questions regarding the Italian legal system.

Among the conclusions of the workshop, the need for coordination between decision makers and field-operators was highlighted, as well as for developing networks further and exchanging knowledge and experience among the affected countries , both EU and non-EU Member States.