South-Eastern Europe

Operational information on the South-Eastern Europe subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:

| Albania | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Montenegro | Serbia (and Kosovo: Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)) | The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia |
For detailed information, see Regional Office in South Eastern Europe.

Subregion: South-Eastern Europe


Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South-Eastern Europe

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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"budget":[63.58183989,50.92069814,45.64091543,61.005667061,68.10731266],"expenditure":[28.39209495,26.95568797,26.531689,34.31168599,40.20730776]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[23.74330474,18.19854839,16.93969595,28.612472566,40.97210448],"p2":[4.91684012,5.25105294,4.82053671,3.844207253,3.55188212],"p3":[8.11479762,7.2212397,5.59562774,5.793305568,3.8070055],"p4":[26.80689741,20.24985711,18.28505503,22.755681674,19.77632056]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[10.00899321,10.14541043,9.44952232,20.24093268,27.85302022],"p2":[3.45577324,4.03266352,3.33464676,2.32336862,2.35699038],"p3":[5.69484113,4.97523604,4.21210709,2.02776035,1.7993934],"p4":[9.23248737,7.80237798,9.53541283,9.71962434,8.19790376]}
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People of Concern - 2016

[["Refugees",36686],["Refugee-like situation",7160],["Asylum-seekers",3595],["IDPs",317957],["Returned IDPs",477],["Returned refugees",215],["Stateless",14053],["Others of concern",78406]]
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This summary presents an overview of UNHCR’s response in South-Eastern Europe in 2016. For more information on key achievements and challenges by operation, please visit the Regional Office in South Eastern Europe page.

Response in 2016 

All countries in the subregion are party to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, and have relevant legislation in place. Nevertheless, asylum-seekers and refugees did not have reliable access to status determination procedures and protection. All countries are also party to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions, with the exception of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which has not yet acceded to the 1961 Convention.
UNHCR worked to strengthen the asylum system and build national capacity, including in the context of the EU-funded Regional IPA II project on protection-sensitive migration management in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
With the de facto closure of the so-called Western Balkans route in early March 2016, mixed movements have decreased considerably in the subregion but still continued, albeit at a reduced pace. Refugees and asylum-seekers increasingly relied on smuggling and trafficking networks. UNHCR focused on ensuring the protection of people of concern, and supported the identification and referral of vulnerable people, such as unaccompanied and separated minors, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and women-at-risk, in order to provide appropriate assistance.
UNHCR also continued preparations for the strategic refocusing of its engagement by the end of 2017 in relation to the people who were displaced by armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. At the end of 2016, an estimated 354,000 people displaced by these conflicts were in need of assistance. UNHCR’s strategy focuses on facilitating durable solutions to the extent possible, and supporting the ongoing efforts of governments and other stakeholders to continue assisting affected individuals. 

Key achievements

Refugees, people at risk of statelessness, returnees and IDPs from former Yugoslavia:
  • 450 people received production kits or inputs for agriculture, livestock, or fisheries activities;
  • 2,680 people received cash grants;
  • 151 individuals with undetermined nationality were assisted to have their nationality confirmed, 2,147 people had their naturalization facilitated; 549 stateless individuals were assisted to acquire nationality.
People of concern in South Eastern Europe (including refugees and asylum-seekers, people at risk of statelessness, and displaced populations from the former Yugoslavia):
  • 174,900 people received legal assistance;
  • 9,600 people with specific needs received non-cash support;
  • 1,100 known survivors of SGBV received appropriate support;
  • A best interests assessment (BIA) was initiated or completed for 88 per cent of unaccompanied and separated children;
  • 2,500 people received psychosocial support;
  • 10 reception center buildings were improved or maintained.
139 Number of personnel (international and national)
10 Number of offices
656,000 Estimated number of people of concern (PoC), including 194,000 displaced people from the subregion with outstanding needs; 450,000 asylum-seekers/refugees from outside the subregion; and12,000 people at risk of statelessness.
45.1 million Overall funding requirements in USD (ExCom-approved 2016 budget)

Operational Environment and Strategy

In the first eight months of 2015, two countries in the subregion, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, received large numbers of people applying for asylum or expressing their intent to do so. Mostly originating from refugee-producing countries, including the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), Afghanistan and Iraq, they have been arriving in Greece and then continuing their journey to Western Europe via the western Balkans. Their search for international protection exposes them to enormous risks related to the elements and abuse by smugglers and gangs. Instances of push-backs and the use of violence by law-enforcement authorities have also been reported.
In addition, the needs of the populations affected by the conflicts of the 1990s, while decreasing, remain significant in the subregion. UNHCR estimates that, in 2016, approximately 194,000 people affected by the regional conflicts of the 1990s, including 136,500 internally displaced people (IDPs), will still have outstanding needs. 

Response and Implementation​

UNHCR has developed a three-pronged strategy to respond to the increasing numbers of people seeking international protection who arrive in South-Eastern Europe:
  • Continue to assist governments with the creation of asylum systems that are aligned with applicable international standards, and that include viable local integration opportunities;
  • Step up protection and border-monitoring activities through the establishment of a regular presence at key locations, while advocating to prevent push-backs and other violations of refugee rights;
  • Assist governments and civil society to boost reception capacity and identify and address the protection and humanitarian needs of refugees.

To address the outstanding needs of people displaced by the 1990s conflicts, UNHCR will aim to further build the capacity of national institutions and civil society organizations and achieve the largest possible number of solutions ahead of its operational disengagement for this group, planned for the end of 2017.
Since the end of 2012, the reported number of persons at risk of statelessness in the region has decreased by 40 per cent, standing at approximately 15,000 in early 2015. The Office will continue to provide legal aid and advocate for solutions for existing stateless populations. UNHCR will also promote the adoption of measures to prevent statelessness, notably through advocacy for accession to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

2016 Budget and Expenditure in South-Eastern Europe | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Regional Office in South Eastern Europe Budget
Total Budget

2016 Voluntary Contributions to South-Eastern Europe | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 4
IDP projects
South-Eastern Europe overall
Canada 1,497,00600 1,497,006
South-Eastern Europe overall subtotal 1,497,00600 1,497,006
Regional Office in South Eastern Europe
Council of Europe Development Bank 0256,1610 256,161
European Union 4,850,5903,261,7080 8,112,298
Japan 1,830,00000 1,830,000
Montenegro 0082,745 82,745
Private donors in Australia 132,08200 132,082
Private donors in Japan 175,50700 175,507
Private donors in the Republic of Korea 50,00000 50,000
Russian Federation 0100,0000 100,000
UN Department of Political Affairs 8,242,42900 8,242,429
UN Trust Fund for Human Security 033,0750 33,075
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2,939,02400 2,939,024
Regional Office in South Eastern Europe subtotal 18,219,6323,650,94482,745 21,953,321
Total 19,716,6383,650,94482,745 23,450,327