Austrian support leads to stronger leadership at Pakistan’s borders

Safe and secure borders depend on the vision and strength of the managers and leaders of national border agencies.

Senior managers of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), with the support of the Ministry of Interior of Austria, have been working to develop a border management leadership training programme for the senior managers responsible for immigration control at the 32 Border Crossing Points (BCPs) on Pakistan’s borders.

This was the first programme of its kind in Pakistan to deliver leadership skills training to the FIA senior managers in charge of immigration controls at Pakistan’s BCPs. Conducted throughout 2022, the leadership programme succeeded in equipping the FIA with a cadre of internal “master” trainers through a comprehensive training programme, developing a specialised training curriculum, and training over 40 FIA managers stationed at Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and Karachi airports, as well as FIA regional offices and land BCPs with Afghanistan and Iran.

The programme concluded with the FIA’s new master trainers independently delivering the leadership training to their fellow FIA officers, providing confirmation of the viability of sustainable training capacity within the agency.

Experts in border management, leadership and adult learning from Romania and Italy worked with FIA senior management over a period of three months to develop the leadership curriculum before it was rolled out in August 2022. The leadership training programme provides FIA shift and BCP managers with the knowledge and skills necessary to employ a sophisticated response that includes the application of advanced border control systems, complex risk analysis, contingency planning and crisis management models, and protocols for the protection of vulnerable and at-risk travellers.

Border management represents a complex challenge for states. International obligations and national priorities in the areas of safety, security, human rights, immigration and trade must be balanced to enable the optimal outcome of ensuring safe, legal and secure movement of people and goods. Senior managers require a complex set of management tools to succeed in such a challenging environment. 

ICMPD, in its capacity as project implementer, plans to support the FIA and the newly qualified master trainers in the further roll out of the leadership training to additional BCPs in 2023, and further expand the pool of qualified national trainers at BCP and provincial level. 

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