Afghanistan: Strengthening strategic capacity on Integrated Border Management (IBM)

Kabul: Afghanistan’s capacity to strategically manage its national borders in an effective and efficient manner was bolstered through technical support provided to senior government officials in two events held from 23 – 26 August 2020 in Kabul, with international experts and trainers connecting online.

On 23 – 24 August, a two day workshop was held on the development of a National Integrated Border Management Strategy and Action Plan for Afghanistan, the fourth such workshop conducted in a series in support of the process of strategy development. The workshop united senior government decision makers and technical level experts to take decisions necessary to finalise the Strategy draft text. Representatives from an inter-agency group of authorities working at or in connection with Afghanistan’s borders participated, including the Afghan Border Police (MoIA); Afghan Customs Department (MoF); Afghan Border Forces (MoD); Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Administrative Office of the President; National Security Council; Afghan Civil Aviation Authority; Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations; Ministry of Transport; and Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The workshop provided the framework to discuss and identify possible governance mechanisms for the strategy to ensure inter-agency monitoring, implementation, adaptation and decision making, as well as confirming the governmental process to finalise and adopt the draft strategy text. The workshop built upon three previous workshops, conducted from December 2019 – March 2020, during which the mission statement, strategic goals, specific objectives and environmental analysis and scanning for the national strategy were identified.

On 25 – 26 August, an introductory training was then delivered to technical level policy officials from the same border authorities on a range of strategic border management issues, including: strategic border governance, inter-agency cooperation, contingency planning, risk analysis, human rights at the border and asset management.  

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.

These two back-to-back events are part of ICMPD’s support to the Government of Afghanistan to improve capacity to effectively and efficiently manage national borders under the European Union funded Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes project (IBM Silk Routes).