Safe and Regular Migration on the Agenda as Regional Director pays Second Visit to Western Balkans

Regional Director Manfred Profazi and Western Balkans Coordinator Ms. Laura Lungarotti (right) together with visit the Temporary Reception Center Lipa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, managed by the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs with technical support fromIOM

Regular pathways took centre stage during a visit by Regional Director Manfred Profazi to IOM operations in the Western Balkans last week. The five-day visit took Mr Profazi to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*, and included held high-level meetings with ministries, authorities, civil society organizations, UN Officials and media.  

Mr Profazi underlined IOM’s commitment to proximity, meeting community, youth, and women’s groups, as well as representatives from academia. The visit included a field trip to Temporary Reception Centres where he had discussions with migrants and listened to their hopes and concerns.  

Mr Profazi underlined his appreciation for the ongoing collaboration. particularly with local authorities in areas which have been affected by irregular migration, such as the Northwest of the country “Our collaboration has proven instrumental in effectively managing migration flows in the region and in responding to the challenges posed by sudden increases in migratory movements”, stressed Mr Profazi during his meeting with Prime Minister of Una Sana Canton, Mr. Mustafa Ružnić, which also covered crucial issues such as disaster risk reduction and climate change.  

In line with IOM's mission to support a transition to a state-owned and long-term migration response in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Profazi emphasized the necessity of shifting focus from reactive emergency measures towards sustainable, solutions-oriented approaches.  

"Recognizing the growing number of people on the move, IOM remains committed to delivering essential services and supporting the government in addressing migration challenges. Together, we are looking into sustainable solutions, including regular pathways to enable safe migration," Mr. Profazi emphasized. 

In Kosovo*, Mr Profazi met Prime Minister Albin Kurti to discuss the transformative role of migration, stressing inclusivity, regional unity, and mutual prosperity. Both sides pledged collaboration to address migration challenges and harness its potential for collective growth, with a focus on fostering inter-ethnic dialogue, and facilitating integration of minorities and reintegration of returnees.  

“IOM is committed to promoting the involvement of minority communities by empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds, through livelihoods, non-formal education, and economic empowerment, laying the foundation for more inclusive communities,” Mr Profazi told Mr Kurti. 

Mr. Profazi and Mr. Kurti also discussed IOM’s engagement with the diaspora, recognizing their contribution to development beyond remittances, as well as the importance of tackling youth unemployment. 

During his with Minister of Interior Mr. Xhelal Svecla, Mr. Profazi spoke about sustainable migration governance and ongoing collaborative efforts to maximize the benefits of migration during a discussion on strategies for safe, orderly, and regular migration.