The MARRI Regional Centre in Skopje hosted the International Conference “Acting together in Migration Management - Enhancing Coordination among Local and Central Level” on 17 March 2016.
The event was organised in cooperation with NALAS and witnessed the participation of 80 representatives of central and local authorities from 14 European countries, international organisations and NGOs who gathered to exchange experiences and best practices in migration crisis management. This was a response to the massive flows of refugees and other migrants over the last years, challenging the capacities of national and local institutions in affected countries to assure stability, peace and well-being of both, the local populations and the refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants.
Panellists from Austria, Croatia and Italy shared their experience with the participants,  such as representatives from Interior Ministries, Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs and Mayors and representatives of associations of local authorities from Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo*.
Special attention was paid to obtaining stronger support from the international community in the European integration process of the Western Balkans, by strengthening capacities in managing the migration crisis in the Region.
The Italian model for the accommodation of asylum seekers and refugees -the SPRAR system - as a case study of sound collaboration between State Administration, Municipalities and NGOs - was illustrated and discussed. Participants also stressed the importance of establishing a regulatory framework with regard to the management of the migration crisis for better welcoming and integrating actions at local and national levels. .
The Conclusions highlighted the need for further upgrading regional coordination mechanisms aimed at supporting regional, central and local authorities, horizontal and vertical networking, permanent consultations of Local Authorities in defining national policies, needs-assessments and support to capacity-building schemes to local authorities by international donors.
The participants invited MARRI and NALAS to join their institutional know-how, experience and capacities in order to explore a feasible proposal for an innovative and collaborative regional mechanism approach among central and relevant local institutions. The further enhancement of the network concept could shape an adequate work platform to pool capacities and resources of key stakeholders in refugee/migrant management.
This event was co-financed by the CEI Cooperation Fund under the Extraordinary Call covering migration.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.