“Strengthening Border Police Capacities through Empowerment of Policewomen in the Western Balkans”

Sustainable border and migration management requires inclusive and diverse institutions that are
responsive to the different needs and concerns of all categories of people crossing borders and
residents of border communities, including their gender-specific needs.

Starting from April 1, 2023 to September 30, 2023 MARRI Regional Centre with support of Central European Initiative (CEI) will implement the project “Strengthening Border Police Capacities through Empowerment of Policewomen in the Western Balkans”. The project is composed of 2 main activities:

1. Research (surveys/interviews) on the state of play of women in Border Police authorities in MARRI Participants and comparative analysis with the EU Member States – exemplified by Italy, and

2. Organizing a Regional conference where research results and recommendations will be presented to relevant national, regional and international stakeholders, with the aim to develop joint solutions and create synergies for mitigating gender inequality in border police structures.

The research will be conducted in 6 CEI Member States plus Kosovo* (total 7) and the findings will
be presented at Regional Conference organized in North Macedonia.

The project contributes to meeting CEI Objective 2.1 – Advancing good governance, as it aims at building strong, resilient, and accountable institutions. Additionally, it supports meeting Objective 2.5 – Pursuing People Empowerment, since human-centered and gender-responsive border police authorities benefit all categories of people crossing borders, as their different needs are adequately recognized and met in line with international and domestic standards of human rights protection. The research will provide MARRI Participants insights on how to achieve more impactful and meaningful performance of all assigned tasks by the border institutions, resulting in better overall operational effectiveness and efficiency. The recommendations deriving from the research, will be presented to all relevant stakeholders and serve as a baseline for future activities in advancing gender equality and women empowerment, specifically in the border police structures.

Capacity-building under the GIZ and PMD/MiGov Programme

The German Governmental Programme PMD/MiGov, through GIZ, supports MARRI RC to become a professional Knowledge Hub.  MARRI personnel received several trainings in Knowledge Management, Public Communications and two modules of Gender Responsive Migration. At individual level, “Stress Management”, “Diplomatic Protocol” and EU Funding/Project Management” trainings as well as “Fundraising Strategy”, Financial Management”, “Photography and Videography” and “Human Resources Management” and other coaching were provided.

The  support also included the secondment of Integrated Expert Christoph von Harsdorf as Principal Advisor on Strategic Development of MARRI and Chief Analyst till February 2024, and a donation of IT and Communication equipment worth exactly EUR 10.000.

“Preventing and Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings in the Western Balkans” Project (PaCT)

Starting from the second half of 2019, German International Cooperation (GIZ) supports MARRI and MARRI Participants in addressing prevention of trafficking in human beings and protection of the (potential) victims of the crime, through joint implementation of a 3.5 years PaCT project.

The project is a response to the conclusion that the increased use of the services of human smugglers due to restrictive migration policy of EU countries since 2016, had increased the risk of exploitation and human trafficking of the migrants in the Western Balkans region. The low level of awareness of and resilience to the dangers of human trafficking both among refugees and among local populations in Western Balkan highlights the need to strengthen or establish mechanisms and structures for identifying human trafficking survivors. PaCT aims to build and expand capacity at local, Participant and regional levels to create prerequisites for an improved situation of victims of trafficking in human beings and guaranteed fulfillment of their rights.

The project will operate through four lines of action – Prevention, Protection, Partnerships and Support Services. As a strategic partner, MARRI will play important role throughout the project in all four lines of action by facilitating regional dialogue and exchange of best practices, lessons learned and new approaches.

The overall objectives of the project are to:

  • Introduce approaches to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable groups to the risks of trafficking in regional exchanges;
  • Improve capacity to identify victims and potential victims of trafficking in human beings;
  • Strengthen the conditions for improved coordination and cooperation in NRMs;
  • Improve availability of concepts for target group-specific psycho-social counseling services and mental health in protection structures.

One of the project’s products is the Practitioner’s Guide for Developing Strategies against Trafficking in Human Beings and Action Plans which contains all recommendations that GRETA, US TIP Report and other relevant anti-trafficking organizations have provided in the previous years. The Practitioner’s Guide is available in English and local languages of the MARRI Participants.

The regional research within PaCT project regarding the changing patterns in human trafficking resulted in Analysis Report: Trends of Human Trafficking in the MARRI Participants. The report is based on the data and information gathered from the MARRI authorities and other anti-trafficking stakeholders in the region.

Other products include:

Inclusion of Survivors in the Policy Development Process and Operational Response to Trafficking in Human Beings – Practical Guidance,

Improving the Communication and Coordination among the NRM Actors in MARRI Participants – Practical Guidance,

Improving the Participation of Civil Society Organisations in the Referral Mechanisms of MARRI Participants – Practical Guidance

Brochure on Health Indicators for Identification of Victims of Trafficking and Potential Victims of Trafficking

Brochure on Regional Standard Operating Procedures for Identification of Victims of Trafficking and Potential Victims of Trafficking in Emergency Situations

all available on MARRI local languages.

GIZ Technical assistance projects aimed at MARRI Reform

In May 2016, MARRI Regional Centre and German International Cooperation (GIZ) re-established the cooperation which resulted with support to the ongoing MARRI Reform. The two components of the support are:

  1. Placement of an integrated expert in MARRI RC for regional data collection and analysis as well as development of services for MARRI Participants, for period of two years;
  2. Providing assessment and advice for MARRI RC on administrative issues, human resources management and organizational development. The overall aim of the support is to provide MARRI Participants with data and recommendations for enabling an informed decision on the future organizational structure and personnel concept of MARRI RC.

Activities already implemented resulted with Scoping Mission Report, workshop aimed at capacity building of MARRI RC, revision of MARRI Financial and Internal work procedures and Mission Report on HR assessment.


European Commission support to MARRI through IPA II funded “Regional Support of Protection Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” Project

In order to support the governments of Western Balkans and Turkey on migration management, in January 2016 the European Commission launched a three-year regional programme “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkan and Turkey” with IPA II funding.

As beneficiary of the programme in subject, MARRI RC in partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM) as implementing partner of European Commission, is actively participating in following project activities aimed at strengthening MARRI’s role in the regional migration management:

  • Enhancing information exchange of non-personal data and data at the intra-regional and inter-regional levels (WB-MIDEX) and,
  • Establishing joint pool of interpreters in the Western Balkans region and designing and implementing pilot project in Serbia and North Macedonia as key MARRI Participants on the migrants’ route.

In the framework of above mentioned activities, IOM engaged an independent expert to assess MARRI national structures and capacities in relation to the role anticipated by IPA II regional support. IOM also supported development of GAP Analysis that provided valuable inputs for overall MARRI reform aimed at upgrading financial, human and technical resources in MARRI and its Participants and offered recommendations for building the institutional and technical capacities towards requirements for strategic and long-term management of the regional migration. The findings of the Gap Analysis were valuable contribution in the development of MARRI Strategy 2017-2020, also supported by IOM.

“SFF – Strengthening regional migration governance” Project

In line with the previous assistance to MARRI, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through German International Cooperation (GIZ) have decided to further support the Initiative by developing and implementing a joint project that will strengthen the regional migration dialogue and cooperation in the Western Balkans at local, national and regional level. With the aim to thematically deepen the understanding of migration issues among all relevant partners and stakeholders in the region, MARRI with the support of GIZ will organize one workshop in each MARRI Participant where representatives of national administrations, local government, international organizations, research/academic institutions and civil society will discuss the migration governance, especially in regards to the Initiative and its adopted strategy. The outcome of these consultative workshops will serve as a basis for development of a multi-annual regional project, intended to provide support, tools and knowledge for enhanced migration management.

“Support of the sustainable development of cooperation among border police in Southeast Europe”  – BORDAIRPOL II

On 10 March 2016 Director of MARRI Regional Centre signed the Contract with Swiss State Secretariat for Migration on donation of 367.225 euro for the implementation of project activities aimed at upgrading cooperation of border authorities in the Southeast Europe. Project under working title BORDAIRPOL II envisaged organization of five strategic meeting designated for the Heads of the Border Police Sectors, eight tailored made trainings for the police officers at the operational level as well as maintenance of the existing secured platform for data exchange among beneficiaries, which server has been managed by MARRI RC in Skopje.

The aim of the Project was further strengthening of the border authorities in SEE and supporting the European integration process of the region. Established partnership with DCAF and FRONTEX in the project activities implementation represented its added value. The activities were carried out from April 2016 to December 2018.

“Strengthening collaboration between the local and the national tiers in the management of migrations” – MIGRALONA Project 2017-2018

On 11 September 2017, MARRI RC in partnership with Central European Initiative – Executive Secretariat (CEI) and Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) commenced the implementation of  “Strengthening collaboration between the local and the national tiers in the management of migrations” – MIGRALONA project. The project was co-financed by Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, CEI and the other partners and had general objective to improve the collaboration between the relevant central and local governments of MARRI Participants through international dissemination of the Italian SPRAR (The National Asylum Seekers and Refugees Protection System) model. The duration of the project was 6 months for which period the following activities were implemented:

  • Six national workshops organized by NALAS for elected representatives and leading civil servants of central and local governments with goal to identify strengths and weaknesses in managing the process of reception and assistance/integration of migrants in each MARRI Participant.
  • A three-day regional workshop in organization of MARRI RC held on 14-15 March 2018 in Skopje where six ministerial representatives and six representatives of the national associations of MARRI Participants presented the state of play of the national legal frameworks and their implementation related to institutional and public-private cooperation for the reception and assistance/integration of migrants in the Western Balkans.

MIGRALONA was built on the recommendations and Conclusions of the international conference “Acting together in Migration Management – Enhancing Coordination among Local and Central Level” held on March 17th, 2016 in Skopje. The conclusions of the conference have raised the interest and commitment of the participants for stronger coordination and collaboration in managing reception, assistance and integration of migrants among local, national administrations and non-governmental organizations.

SAFERR Women and Girls (Shelter and Access for Empowerment and Risk Reduction)” Project with support of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) 2017

download download

Regional workshop “Irregular migration and THB – International standards for protection of migrants at risk of trafficking in human beings with particular focus on women and children along the migration route” Report

Assessment Report “Challenges in the identification and protection of vulnerable individuals and victims of gender based violence and trafficking in human beings in the context of migration crisis”

MARRI International Conference “Acting together in migration management – enhancing coordination among central and local level” 2016


MARRI “Improvement of the Procedures for Establishing Identity of Irregular Migrants in the MARRI Region’ Project 2015-2016








MARRI BORDIARPOL Project 2013-2016


MARRI Migration Paper 2012
download download 

Joint comprehensive approach in building co-operation between MARRI and SEPCA Member States’ border police on international airport border crossing points 2012
download download

Migration for development in the Western Balkans 2012
download download

MARRI MS visa systems 2009
download download

MARRI MS visa statistics 2008
download download

Visa regime Overview 2007

MARRI Migration Paper 2007
download download