IMG_6977The Serbian Presidency-in-Office with MARRI Regional Centre, organized traditional presentation of annual results and future plans – MARRI Friends Meeting, on 5th April 2017,  at the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia.  The event gathered representatives of Diplomatic Corps, MARRI Partners and Donors, representatives of national institutions and civil sector to discuss achievements and consider possibilities for joint efforts in the area of migration management in the Western Balkans.

The Minister of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Agim Nuhiu opened the event by assessment that MARRI Friends meeting is an excellent opportunity to initiate cooperation and to launch new regional projects.

“Above all, we should all make use of this event in order to devote more attention to a topic that may not be as ubiquitous as it was in 2015 and 2016, but we shouldn’t forget about it” said Minister Nuhiu. He stressed that MARRI is the only place where all regional Participants are equal and where they can discuss and negotiate proving that they can act together. Moreover, the Participants can share responsibility for their actions, thus supporting process for EU membership which is a common ambition to all. He also reiterated Macedonia’s commitment for continuous support to the Initiative, as well as his personal devotion to promote the cooperation in the region through MARRI.

On behalf of Serbian Presidency in Office of MARRI, the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia Mrs. Dusanka Divjak Tomic, addressed the audience saying that the Republic of Serbia pays high importance to the regional cooperation as a key instrument for strengthening stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans and for reaching the standards on the way to EU membership. She reminded that Presidency-in-Office has set the priorities for the past year in line with MARRI mandate, emphasizing irregular migration and in particular trafficking in human beings. She stressed two MARRI activities implemented under the Serbian Presidency in Office: The Annual meeting of the MARRI Coordinators for anti-trafficking Network and a Regional workshop related to the same topic held on 27-28 February in Belgrade, both organized with financial assistance of Catholic Relief Services. She prized the achievements of MARRI and its undergoing reform, appealing to all MARRI Participants to support the process and to contribute in reaching consensus decisions quicker, both on political level and within MARRI Forum as highest deciding body. She concluded her address reconfirming the commitment of the Republic of Serbia to support MARRI.

MARRI Regional Centre Director Tamara Mugosa gave elaborate presentation of reform dynamics, projects, funds, networks, partnerships, participants and beneficiaries of MARRI activities and donors.

Pointing out on two important ongoing processes, MARRI RC reform and preparation of MARRI Strategy 2017-2020 in addition to establishment of new partnerships, attracting new donors and spreading MARRI scope of work to collaboration with the civil sector, Director Mugosa summarized the achievements of MARRI RC in the past year.

The representative of the Swiss Embassy in Skopje Ms. Lilian Kandikjan took the opportunity to announce that Swiss Confederation will provide further support to institutional strengthening of MARRI, building upon results achieved through support provided by GIZ.

The Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje Ambassador Nina Suomalainen, informed that OSCE mission is monitoring and reporting about irregular migration in the region but it is also looking into ways to support organizations and institutions in the host countries. Organizing capacity building trainings in border management and trafficking in human beings represents their field of interest. She also expressed readiness to consider possibilities for cooperation with MARRI in the area of combatting trafficking in human beings.

The Head of IOM Office in Skopje Mrs. Sonja Bozinovska-Petrushevska presented future MARRI-IOM in the framework of multiannual IPA II funded project, while Mr. James Mackbeth Forbes, GIZ Country Director congratulated MARRI for tangible results achieved in the past year with focus on jointly implemented activities in the area of MARRI reform.

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MARRI Friends Meeting in Skopje, Macedonia