Facts and Figures and Figures (GLOBAL)
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Through the Department of Migration Management, IOM works on the development of policy guidance for the field; the formulation of global strategies; standard-setting and quality control; and knowledge management relating to “mainstream” migration sectors, including labour and facilitated migration, migration and development, counter-trafficking, assisted voluntary return, migration health, assistance for vulnerable migrants, immigration and border management and overall capacity-building in migration management.

In addition, the Department also manages the IOM Development Fund and is responsible for reviewing, endorsing and managing multiregional and global projects. The Department provides technical supervision of project review and endorsement to experts in the field. It is also responsible for maintaining operational partnerships with relevant governmental, multilateral and private sector industry partners in coordination with the Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships. IOM has had a presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1992.

Migration Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the context of the increased the number of irregular migrants transiting through the country since the end of 2017, and of persons seeking asylum, IOM seeks to support the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to effectively manage a functioning reception system that is in line with international standards and that provides living conditions at an acceptable standard, where the dignity of those accommodated is maintained and their basic needs met. 

To respond to the increase in mixed migration flows, IOM and its partners through a coordination mechanism the Coordination Group for the Refugee and Migrant situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, provides humanitarian assistances to migrants.  Through different periods IOM managed up to seven reception centres, in Sarajevo Canton (SC) and Una-Sana Canton (USC), providing accommodation to more than 8,000 people at a time. At the moment, there are four remaining TRCs in the country.  

At the end of 2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina started seeing an increase in the number of migrants and refugees to the country. In 2018, authorities detected 24,067 migrant and refugee arrivals, compared to 755 in the whole of 2017. In 2019, 29,124 migrant and refugee arrivals were detected, and the trend continued throughout 2020 with 16,150 migrant arrivals registered in BiH. 

The composition of the migration flows is mixed, with top declared countries of origin being Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran and Syria. While the vast majority is single men, there are also families with children, elderly, unaccompanied migrant children, and other vulnerable categories. 


On behalf of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), IOM and UNHCR co-lead the migration response in support of the BiH authorities and in particular the BiH Ministry of Security. This support covers both the provision of humanitarian assistance and the strengthening of the overall migration and asylum management in the country. 

At the state-level, the Operational Headquarters for Migration Issues chaired by the Minister of Security prepares and proposes measures, decisions and procedures for action for the Council of Ministers and other institutions and agencies and coordinates the response of all state actors involved in both the humanitarian and migration and asylum management response to the current situation. Representatives of the entity-level and the Brčko District of BiH bodies for migration issues are participating in this forum. Una Sana Canton representatives are not members but are invited to participate in this body. 

Since 2018, IOM as the principal Agency of the response, participates in this body at the request of the BiH Minister of Security. The body meets in on a bi-weekly basis, however recently, it has met less frequently. 

IOM and UNHCR co-chair monthly Refugee and Migrant Response Coordination Meetings: this interagency group is open to all national and international governmental and non-governmental actors in the humanitarian response to the migrant and refugee situation and is the main venue for information exchange and coordination among international and civil society stakeholders.  State level authorities are routinely invited, as are Federation authorities as well as those from Sarajevo Canton and municipality. 

IOM - the UN Migration Agency has been present in BiH 1992.  IOM has a longstanding partnership with the Government of BiH supporting the country in key migration management areas, including but not limited to counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, border management, labour migration, and diaspora engagement. 


In response to the increase in migrants and asylum seekers in BiH since the end of 2017, IOM has scaled up its field presence in Una Sana Canton significantly, first through the deployment of mobile protection and assistance teams, and in 2018, the first UN agency to open a field office in Bihac in Una Sana Canton.   

In 2018, with the support of the European Union (EU), IOM opened four new Temporary Reception Centres in Una Sana Canton, and with the support of the Council of Europe Development Bank, IOM opened one new Temporary Reception Centre in Sarajevo. In late 2019, with support of the EU and in collaboration with the German Federal Civil Protection Agency, IOM also opened an additional site in Blažuj, Sarajevo Canton. 

IOM outreach teams in coordination with Red Cross provide assistance to those sleeping outside in informal and rough accommodation, by distributing food and NFI packages, personal protective equipment and information on assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR).  

  • Usivak Temporary Reception Centre in Hadžići Municipality for single men, families and vulnerable migrants opened in October 2018. 
  • Borici Temporary Reception Centre in City of Bihac for families and vulnerable migrants re-opened in December 2018 following complete renovation. 
  • Blažuj Temporary Reception Centre in Sarajevo Canton, started providing provisional accommodation solutions during the winter in 2019, and will continue to scale up its capacity and to improve living conditions as reconstruction works to fully operationalize the site are still ongoing. 
  • Lipa Temporary Reception Centre in Una-Sana Canton is managed by the Service for Foreigners Affairs (SFA), with support from IOM and partners.