As COVID-19 continues to devastate around the world, we at the MARRI Regional Centre continue to alter its modus operandi to find a way to fulfil its mandate despite the drawbacks caused by the preventive restrictions.
My foreword to the fourth edition of our Bulletin is dedicated to all those who enable our work from home in times of pandemic.
I start with our dear families. When the video-conferences start, family members take babies to the park, partners turn down web pages, and take children outdoor, mobile phones are switched off, games stopped, doors and windows get closed to keep the traffic noise outside, dogs receive a bone to chew on, cats a bowl of milk – just to keep them all quiet. Because our video-conferences start.
If you call it “Ahead of the game” (Australian Government) or “Fit for purpose” (UN, OSCE), it does not matter. A changing world and the 2030 SDG Agenda require many institutions and organizations to adapt to the 21st century’s challenges and transformation.
This year, we are proud to mark the 15th anniversary of MARRI as a catalyst for regional cooperation on issues concerning migration, asylum and refugees in the Western Balkans. Back in 2004, MARRI was established with a decision by the Stability Pact of South-Eastern Europe. It has since evolved from a donor-supported organisation to a regional initiative jointly owned by its Participants.
Looking back, I am amazed by the hard work done and the progress made during this challenging but rewarding period. In 2008, the Participants took over the full ownership and leadership of MARRI, while securing its sustainability by funding the running costs for its Secretariat – the MARRI Regional Centre.
Initially, MARRI has been established by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, (North) Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro. Over the years, its composition has changed with the leaving of Croatia and joining of Kosovo* as a full-fledged MARRI Participant. Nevertheless, the commitment towards regional cooperation and a coordinated response to the common challenges has stood the test of time.
*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
Five months have passed since I took over the position of Director of the MARRI Regional Centre. It is a milestone in my professional life. After more than 29 years with the Macedonian Ministry of Interior, it is the first time that I engage with a different institution – although closely related to the MOI’s tasks in migration management.
I am aware of the challenge I am faced with but at the same time, I am convinced that my extensive experience in Police and border management, as well as the practical knowledge and expertise in implementing numerous EU/IPA funded projects, will greatly benefit our work at MARRI.