Address by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic on the occasion of marking the 25th anniversary of cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and the International Organization for Migration (IOM):
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have the pleasure to open our today’s meeting marking the 25th anniversary of cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and the International Organization for Migration, their partnership and joint efforts in the implementation of many projects. This is particularly important, given that it has been for more than two decades that the Republic of Serbia has been faced with different types of migration: emigration, on the external level, internal migration from rural to urban areas, forced migration (refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and returnees under readmission agreements) and voluntary migration; including legal, irregular and labour migration.
As the key partner in migration and migration policy areas, the International Organization for Migration in the Republic of Serbia has implemented, with donor support and together with Serbian state institutions, more than 150 projects on housing refugees and IDPs, and voluntary returnees; provided assistance to victims of human trafficking, integration of returnees, as well as assistance in the recovery of the population evacuated after the flooding incidents. The partnership was reconfirmed also in joint response to the migration crisis, as one of the major challenges of our time, carried out through activities of support and assistance to the migrant population in accommodation centres.
I would like to recall that, somewhat more than a year ago, the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the political declaration on refugees and migration – “the New York Declaration”, aimed at seeking/finding, by 2018, solutions for a large number of IDPs across the world, and alleviating the current refugee/migrant crisis. At the meeting, the Agreement on cooperation between the UN and the International Organization for Migration was signed, thus turning a new page in the global perception of the complex issue of mixed migratory movements. The Republic of Serbia welcomed the adoption of the New York Declaration and the signing of the Agreement between the UN and the International Organization for Migration, convinced that a sustainable and durable solution can be reached only through clearly defined and coordinated activities carried out in a concerted action of all countries and international organizations.
Today, international migration constitutes an important factor of social transformation in all parts of the world. It is particularly due to Serbia’s vast experience with all types of migratory and social challenges that my country believes that it can make a global contribution by sharing these experiences. Serbia is therefore taking an active part in the formulation of common guidelines and goals, as well as in national and regional consultations within the framework of the Global Compact on Migration. As a country with a large diaspora, the Republic of Serbia is aware of the challenges and benefits of regular migration, and is committed to ensuring that such migration flows benefit both the countries of origin and the countries of destination. Definition of such a framework for regular migration should be approached from the perspective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
There are series of challenges in addressing the migration issue, one of the major being how to prevent irregular migration, and trafficking in human beings. These vast problems have been actively dealt with ever since 2000, following the adoption of first programmes aimed at combating human trafficking, and programmes of assisted voluntary returns.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate you on this important jubilee, wishing you every success and joint achievements in the future. Serbia will continue to support the endeavours of the International Organization for Migration, and be an active and equal partner in the accomplishment of all common goals.