16 March 2017
On 15 March 2017, Lviv hosted the international conference on integrated management of common border «Border Security in Action. Success in Partnership».
Apart from promoting coordinated approach to the border management, the event marked the successful completion of the SURCAP-2 project*, aimed at strengthening security along the common Ukraine –Belarus border.
“The global number of international migrants has reached 244 million in 2015. Migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable – when well governed,” said Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of the IOM Mission in Belarus, opening the conference. He added that recent challenges posed by migration flows across the Mediterranean once again demonstrated that effective border management and cross-border cooperation are critical for managing migration in a way that would allow to reconcile national security and human security, as well as sovereign rights and obligations with the rights, obligations and dreams of migrants.
“Unfortunately, today we observe tendency of increasing risks at borders which are related to cross-border illegal activities, which tend to acquire characteristics of organized crime,” stated Anatoly Lappo, Head of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus.
In such a situation, partnership and cooperation among border guard agencies of the countries of origin, transit, and destination, as well as competent international organizations that provide expertise, technical and financial support, is crucial. Outa Hermalahti, Representative of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Belarus, highlighted that “border management is a priority for the European Union within the Eastern Partnership.” Ms. Hermalahti mentioned that within the framework of SURCAP-2 project border agencies of Belarus and Ukraine received the equipment worth over 4 million euros to strengthen border control. “However, enhancement of border guards’ work requires not only technical equipment, but also cooperation and experience sharing with their colleagues in neighboring countries,” added Outa Hermalahti.
The SURCAP-2 project is an example of such cooperation. Common Contact Point at Belarusian-Ukrainian border “Pinsk–Zhytomyr” will be soon launched in the framework of the project, allowing specialists to exchange operational information 24 hours a day and facilitating the implementation of integrated border management concept in the region.
According to Victor Nazarenko, Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the system of integrated border management is the basis for the ability to combat cross-border crime, terrorism and other threats. “At the same time, we do our best to ensure that ordinary citizens cross our borders safely,” added Mr. Nazarenko.
Victor Nazarenko, Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (right)
During the conference, representatives of border agencies from ten countries – Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, and Estonia – shared their best practices in the field of integrated border management and border security. Representatives of the leading agencies in the field of border management and migration – IOM, FRONTEX, the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), etc., also contributed to the discussion by sharing their experience on the subject.
*The international conference was organized within the EU-funded project “Strengthening Surveillance and Bilateral Coordination Capacity Along the Common Border Between Belarus and Ukraine, SURCAP Phase II”, implemented by the IOM Missions in Belarus and Ukraine, the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus, and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.