RCC hosts first meeting for preparing South East European strategy on justice and home affairs

The first meeting of the South East European Steering Group for Regional Strategy on Justice and Home Affairs 2011-2013, ended in Sarajevo today at the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat, which is coordinating the preparation of the document.

Participants of this two-day event worked on the first draft of the strategy and action plan, with a goal to identify challenges in each of the countries and integrate them into a regional framework.

The experts identified the following main threats in South East Europe: trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of children; illegal migration and smuggling of migrants; trafficking and smuggling of goods, hazardous materials and arms; money laundering; drugs trafficking; terrorism and its links to organized crime; and corruption.

Once finalized, the regional strategy on justice and home affairs will include a plan for a system of monitoring and evaluating regional cooperation, with benchmarks and indicators. It will contain a chart of regional actions, initiatives, institutions, organizations and programmes, map the existing technical assistance activities as well as the lessons learned, gaps and overlaps.

The envisaged result is a sustainable, coherent, transparent and coordinated regional strategy on justice and home affairs in South East Europe for the next three years, which will provide guidance for monitoring progress, circulating and assessing information, facilitating cooperation among relevant actors and donors, and raising visibility of regional efforts.

The first draft of the document is expected to be produced in September 2010, with the strategy being endorsed by the South East European ministers of justice and home affairs in early 2011.

The meeting participants included representatives of national judicial institutions from South East Europe, SEE regional organizations, EU institutions and agencies, representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, national and international experts on justice and home affairs, NGOs and professional associations.