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Fund in Action: North Macedonia

Evidence-based migration policy planning and discourse in North Macedonia

North Macedonia, Photo: ©UNHCR

North Macedonia has significant migration outflows, with more than 700,000 citizens estimated to be living and working abroad in 2019. However, limited data has been one of the main challenges for evidenced-based policymaking and effective migration governance. To address this, the Joint Programme worked towards improving the systematic collection and analysis of migration-related data; enhancing institutional data exchange mechanisms and collaboration; and increasing awareness and understanding among the public for the effective management of migration. 

The Joint Programme supported the government and its partners to design evidence-based and coordinated migration policies. Additionally, it has supported the development and application of tools to improve the migration database. 

  • The Migration Policy and its Action Plan for 2021-2025, developed with support from the Joint Programme, was approved by the Parliament in December 2021. This milestone document sets out the national strategic direction on migration governance. 

  • 7 new data management tools and mechanisms related to migration, including the Migration Profile and the Migration Governance Indicators (MGI) report, were developed and applied by the national institutions. 

  • 357 stakeholders were trained in migration-related data management. 

The Joint Programme aimed to strengthen intra- and inter-institutional data exchange in migration management, enhancing rulebooks, and improving data management systems. Partnerships and coordination were strengthened among diverse stakeholders, contributing to better migration statistics and use of Big Data. 

  • Official South-South Cooperation visits were organized between the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Central Bank of Albania, to exchange experiences and share best practices related to remittances. 

  • 169 individuals from government, civil society, academia, private sector, and international organizations, were trained on remittances and Big Data. 

To improve the perception of migrants and refugees among policymakers and the public, the Joint Programme, in collaboration with local actors, created media content promoting positive narratives on migration, organized public events, and engaged in mentorship programmes, resulting in greater awareness of the challenges faced by migrants and refugees and highlighting their positive contributions. 

  • 450,000 individuals were reached with the “This is home” campaign, aiming at creating positive narratives and perceptions towards migrants and refugees.  

  • 555,000 individuals were reached with the campaign “No to hate – Build a positive mindset” which targeted the youth. 

  • 10 public events focusing on strengthening positive narratives and perceptions of migrants and refugees were organized, including the Skopje Jazz Festival, the Journalists Awards ceremony, the Skopje Marathon and the National Debate Tournament. 

  • 161 officials from government, civil society representatives, and journalists were trained on “Communication Strategy for Social Change”.  

  • 31 journalists were trained on the importance of providing the public with accurate information on the challenges faced by refugees and migrants, leading to the creation of 29 media products. 

Here are snippets from the media content produced by the Migration MPTF campaign “This is home”, short documentaries on successful migrant stories in North Macedonia. These interviews promote positive migration narratives through events and mentorship, aiming to raise awareness of challenges faced by migrants and highlight their positive contributions. 

North Macedonia, Photo: ©IOM

Left - Natalija Todorovska, a Russian migrant in North Macedonia, tells her story of how she became North Macedonia’s handball coach and a teacher at the National Handball Academy. 

Right - Nikolina Kujaca fled Bosnia during the 1990s war and immigrated to Struga with her family. There, she completed her ballet school education and went on to become a professional actress. 

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*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).