Around 50 participants from Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, the Macedonian Ministries of Local Self-Government and of Foreign Affairs and from the French Embassy took the floor at the two-day Seminar on 20-21 June 2016, organised by the ALDA Office in Skopje, the Association of Local Democracy  Agencies.
 
The gathering was opened by Shiret Elezi - Faqja Zyrtare, Minister of Local Self-Governement; Jon Jovanovki, CEI National Coordinator for Macedonia (from MFA); Ugo Poli, CEI focal point for migration; Sebastien Botreau-Bonneterre, representative of the French Embassy in the Republic of Macedonia and ALDA Skopje General Secretary, Antonella Valmorbida.
 
On top of the agenda was migration management at local level, both in emergency and reception conditions, comparing local policies and the role of Local Authorities in many CEI countries and beyond. Special attention was paid to how immigration could become an opportunity for local development by creating a socially inclusive environment and promoting effective intercultural communication and integration programmes.
 
The presentations, Q&A and working group reports brought about a comprehensive picture of the state-of-the-art of the legal frameworks governing the recent migration flows at European and national level, of the actual situation on the field and case stories of considerable importance as well as exchange of good practices and in-depth examination of informative mismanagement of migration issues by the media. As a result, guidelines and recommendations were produced to improve both public and civil society interventions and pave the way to better quality information.
 
The seminar achieved a high multiplier effect by connecting relevant organisations from the countries involved. Vivid declarations from front-line NGOs were delivered, including those testifying the current troubles in certain EU Member States.

The skills and experience of CSOs and the added value available from their collaboration with National and Local Authorities came to the forefront. The lessons learned from their case studies would substantially contribute to feeding the current evolutionary stage of the international debate for upgrading the regulatory and organisational framework of migration management. This is particularly relevant for checking regulatory loopholes and solving contradictory legal provisos; advocating the bottom-up inputs and quality contribution, not only in terms of operational assistance but of policy advice, of a permanent public – private partnership at all levels, i.e. with local and national authorities; networking of pivotal actors from the civil society for effective dialogue with international organisations and the design of transnational strategies, also in the macro-regional context.

The Local Democracy Agencies in ALDA proved to be key players in the WB region. The role of the territory as a dimension for dealing with the challenges of the migration crisis and the reception and integration of the refugee and asylum seekers first, was substantially assessed. Furthermore, all the subjects addressed by the seminar proved to be new specific items of the EU accession process.
 
The seminar was co-financed by the CEI Cooperation Fund in the framework of the Extraordinary Call for Proposals for co-financing Cooperation Activities on migration and related crime.
  • Press release available here



 

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