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Project News: ICMPD supporting Afghanistan develop a National Strategy and Action Plan for Integrated Border Management

6 December 2019

On the 1-3 December 2019, ICMPD welcomed Deputy Ministers of Finance, Defence, Transport and Refugees and Repatriation from Afghanistan as part of a multi-agency delegation participating in the first formal meeting to develop a National Integrated Border Management Strategy and Action Plan for Afghanistan in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Walid Tamim led the Afghan delegation and was accompanied by Mr. Abdul Rauf, Deputy Minister of Defence, Strategy and Policy, Mr. Shaikh Matin, Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr. Mher Sabar, Acting Deputy Minister for Planning and Policy of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, as well as Director General and Deputy Director General level representatives from the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs respectively. Technical border management experts from each ministry accompanied the senior officials in the ICMPD workshop.

The workshop was organised by ICMPD within the framework of the European Union funded Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries (IBM Silk Routes) project, implemented by ICMPD, with the purpose of establishing the foundation and process for drafting and adopting a national IBM strategy. The workshop was the first of four workshop to be continued in 2020 that shall support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan draft a National Strategy and Action Plan. The strategy development process shall follow a four phases methodology that shall support development of all aspects of a National Strategy; from the establishment of a national level strategic mission statement; through the elaboration of specific objectives and actions; and ultimately leading to the design of monitoring and governance mechanisms supporting implementation. 

The Integrated Border Management (IBM) concept calls for cooperation and coordination between all actors involved in border management at national and international level. By improving communication, information exchange and mutual assistance of and between border services, the state border can be managed more successfully. The concept aims at simultaneously enhancing trade facilitation and ensuring a high level of border security and has the potential to support Afghanistan augment its economic development, national security, and ultimately contribute towards efforts to achieve economic self-sufficiency. 

Introducing measures that facilitate the conduct of cross-border trade in a smooth, cost-effective and secure manner shall support Afghanistan to capitalise on the potential benefits offered by multiple regional connectivity initiatives, including the Lapiz Lazuli transit route (connecting Afghanistan to Europe via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey), the Chabarhar Deep Sea Port (connecting with Iran and India), and complementing other regional transport corridors, such as Turkey’s Middle Corridor Project and the Five Nations Railway Corridor. In parallel, Afghanistan’s efforts to curtail the illicit trafficking and irregular transit of people, goods, arms, currency and narcotics, as well as implement effective public safety, anti-corruption and counter-terrorism policies may be strengthened through well-coordinated and equipped border management agencies.

Participants welcomed the potential of an IBM Strategy to support the current priorities of Afghanistan across multiple policy domains, including security, trade, economic development, and migration. Furthermore, they concluded that the strategy must be developed by Afghans for Afghanistan to ensure sustainability, and welcomed the proposed multi-agency methodology for placing the role and leadership of the Afghan government at the forefront of this process.

The IBM Silk Routes project is funded by the European Union to support the countries of the Silk Routes region, covering Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, in building more effective and efficient border management systems, using as a blueprint the Integrated Border Management (IBM) concept and its developments and translating them to the specific situations and realities of the region. This ICMPD project was initiated in January 2019 and will run for a duration of 4 years.