Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey – Phase I
Project description: This is a European Union-funded programme implemented in six Western Balkans beneficiaries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey in partnership with EBCGA, EASO and UNHCR. It aims to provide a comprehensive and holistic regional approach to migration management systems in the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) and as part of the EU accession processes of the beneficiaries. The Programme focuses on introducing and sharing EU standards and best practices on migration management while supporting the beneficiaries to develop an effective response to mixed migration flows.
Key results and achievements:
- Strengthened migration data collection, systematization and analysis of non-personal data and supported exchange of information at inter-regional levels and with EU agencies
With the aim of ensuring that accurate data on mixed movements are available and to facilitate systematic coordination and regional cooperation regarding information on cross-border movements along the Western Balkan migration route, IOM has developed the Regional Template for Exchange of Non-Personal Migration Data, in line with Regulation 862/2007 on community statistics. This regionally harmonized and EU-compliant template serves to promote greater standardization among data collectors and facilitate direct comparison of data and trends at the regional level.
- Established voluntary return and reintegration mechanism at the national level
With the aim of establishing the regional Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme for migrants wishing to voluntarily return to their countries of origin the project enhanced AVRR operations, ensured effective counselling and information services on AVRR in asylum and reception centres and strengthened collaboration with Consular and Diplomatic missions of migrant’s countries of origin. The AVRR programme is available to all interested migrants and AVRR practitioners are capacitated to implement and oversee effective returns in line with EU standards and practices.
- Established sustainable interpretation services with cultural mediation competencies
In order to fully meet the emerging translation and interpretation needs of the migration management authorities in the Western Balkans, IOM developed:
- The Migration Translation Application (MiTA), an offline smartphone application that allows migration management officials to access a basic interpretation during first contacts with migrants.
- The Regional Remote Interpretation Service (RRIS), a fully functioning service for effective and timely scheduling of extra-regional interpreters, easily accessible to asylum departments.
The Cultural Mediation Curriculum, ensuring interpreters and cultural mediators are equipped with adequate communication skills with migrants, in a context of increased presence of migrants and changing migration trends.
 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.