On the 22 March – 1 April 2021, ICMPD facilitated cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Iraq Border Management authorities through a joint initiative to develop the operational and training expertise on document security and identity. The cooperation also promoted the role of local actors in developing intra-regional solutions to capacity development in the area of border management.
This cooperation was established as ICMPD supported the delivery of two basic level document security and identity courses delivered by Lebanese Armed Forces trainers to Iraqi border officers in Baghdad, Iraq. Having been trained and certified to deliver document security courses by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and other expert bodies such as IDcentre, the Lebanese Armed Forces is already well-accustomed to providing such training to its own and other state agencies in Lebanon.
However, this role took on a new international dimension when four Lebanese Armed Forces and one ICMPD trainer delivered two four-day courses covering the basics of imposter recognition, document substrates, printing techniques, security features and recognition of fake/forged documents to peers from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, Border Ports Commission, Civil Aviation Authority and Prime Minister’s Office. Iraqi participants were drawn from front-line posts at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), the busiest commercial and private airport in Iraq, where they will return to their duties following the training able to confidently apply the knowledge acquired to immediately improve the process of identifying and interdicting a wide range of cross-border crimes that rely upon the use of forged and fraudulent documents and identities.
As well as representing a new phase of capacity evolution for the beneficiaries, the training also reflects a growing characteristic of international assistance - the promotion of local actors’ roles in the design and implementation of tailored intra-regional solutions in line with the European Parliament’s most recent resolutions (Resolution on improving development effectiveness and the efficiency of aid (2019/2184(INI))).
Recognising the unique strengths and needs in the area of border management in both countries, namely, the emerging expertise of the Lebanese Armed Forces Land Border Regiments Training School (CTS) as a training institution on one hand, and the ambitions of Iraqi border authorities to develop their operational border management capacity on the other, the cooperation provided added value for both countries.
For Iraqi counterparts, it allowed them to develop capacities with the benefit of EU-quality training coupled with integrating the linguistic, cultural and operational contexts of the region fully into the training delivery. For Lebanon, it provided a valuable experience for the Lebanese Armed Forces in functioning as a regional training provider. The successful activity provides the foundation for further strengthening of ties between the two countries on border management, with ICMPD well placed to continue to facilitate the partnership as it develops.
The initiative was jointly coordinated and funded by two ICMPD projects, the Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes project (IBM Silk Routes), working in Iraq with EU funding, and the Netherlands Assistance to Lebanese Border Agencies project, working in Lebanon with funding from the Netherlands.
The European Union funded IBM Silk Routes project aims to support the countries of the Silk Routes region, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan to improve their capacity to effectively and efficiently manage their national borders in line with EU and international good practice.
The Netherlands funded Netherlands Assistance to Lebanese Border Agencies (IBM) project works to support the effective establishment of the Lebanese Armed Forces Land Border Regiment Central Training School as an IBM training centre of excellence.