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Project News: Enhancing Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Region

3 July 2019

The launch of a new EU-funded Integrated Border Management project seeks to optimise prosperity and enhance security through supporting better intra-service, inter-agency and international cooperation on border management issues across the Silk Routes region.

The success or failure of multiple processes depend on the operation of well governed borders, whether it be the transit of cargo containers of food and agricultural produce; business people flying to meet their associates; refugees fleeing insecurity or natural disasters; or farming communities that must cross a national boundary as part of daily or seasonal work patterns. 

In parallel, optimal prosperity can only be achieved in an environment where the safe and orderly movement of people and goods across borders is guaranteed. Effective border governance plays a key role in national efforts to prevent the smuggling of counterfeit and prohibited goods, combatting organised crime, counter-terrorism, anti-corruption, and guaranteeing the safety of travellers, migrants and refugees. 

As such, the Integrated Border Management (IBM) concept seeks to promote trade, mobility and stability through development of a single, comprehensive border governance framework that ensures coordination between all relevant border agencies and stakeholders across all areas of border management. 

Senior government officials and representatives of border management agencies from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan gathered in Istanbul, Turkey from 24 – 26 June 2019 for the launch of the Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries (IBM Silk Routes) project. The new initiative, funded by the European Commission, seeks to support the countries of the Silk Routes region in facilitating the safe and efficient transit of people and goods across borders. The project will support this objective by developing the national capacities and systems in place for border management, such as through the development of National IBM Strategies and Action Plans, supporting training and educational capacity development for border agencies, and facilitating the strengthening of regional and international knowledge exchange and cooperation networks on relevant border management issues. Representatives from the European Commission, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), and the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also joined ICMPD and the country delegations during the launch event.

Mr. Martijn Pluim, Director Migration Dialogues and Cooperation for ICMPD, opened the launch event, noting that “well-functioning and efficient borders are the foundation that supports regional mobility and development.” He was accompanied by Mr. Robert Jan-Sieben, International Aid and Cooperation Officer from DG DEVCO, who highlighted the ongoing partnership of the European Union with the participating countries, as well as the potential for “well-managed borders to create the conditions for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth”. 

Participants from the Silk Routes countries at the event also welcomed the initiative, citing variously the hope that the project shall contribute to reviving and enhancing the economic potential of the historic Silk Road networks that traversed the region; the importance of such regional initiatives to enhance trade facilitation and border security; and appreciation for the flexible nature of the IBM Silk Routes project to adapt to the individual geographic, economic and social contexts in each participating country. 

The IBM Silk Routes project is funded by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD from 1 January 2019 for 48 months. The project seeks to support the authorities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan in building more effective and efficient border management systems. 

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