Islamabad, 14 September: Within the framework of the EU supported project Integrated Border Management in Silk Routes countries, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), hosted an Integrated Border Management Training Conference in Islamabad to showcase training initiatives undertaken by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The conference is part of several ongoing programs funded by the European Union aimed at supporting and strengthening Pakistan’s border management system, with other programmes contributing more specifically to protection of vulnerable to human trafficking, migrant smuggling, exploitation, and abuse throughout their migration cycle.
The conference focused on the presentation of ongoing training initiatives, both specific to Integrated Border Management and the adjacent law enforcement field; taking stock of current results, innovative approaches and challenges, and to establish a broader platform for all stakeholders working in the space to recognise the contributions of their partners, pool collective experiences, and identify opportunities for future coordination.
In his opening remarks, Director General of the FIA, Mr. Mohsin Hassan Butt, echoed how integral the training programmes are: “The education of our FIA officers is key in the prevention of irregular migration and border related crimes and is part of the strategy which is continuous with the leadership of the FIA Academy and the FIA Immigration Wing and the assistance of our international partners.”
For international partners working in the area of capacity development, training also forms the bedrock of activities aimed at supporting border authorities improve staff performance. During the conference 21 FIA Master Trainers, equipped by ICMPD, presented on their experiences in delivering trainings to their colleagues on Document Security, Behavioural Analysis and Leadership. ICMPD also handed over 3 Manuals on training related topics, which will be used by the FIA in their continuous training programmes.
This outlook on effective cooperation between the EU and Pakistan was reiterated by the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Philipp Gross in his opening remarks: “The 2020 New Pact on Migration and Asylum foresees that tailor-made comprehensive, balanced and mutually beneficial partnerships between the EU and Pakistan are to be developed. The current training program which supports Pakistan curbing irregular migration is an excellent example of this partnership. The EU looks forward to further deepen cooperation, both to curb illegal migration and to strengthen pathways for legal migration.”
In view of this partnership, ICMPD has developed training programmes that have provided education to over 500 border officials since the inception of the Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries project in 2019. These programmes remain a high priority for border management agencies in Pakistan, including the Federal Investigation Agency, Pakistan Customs and Anti Narcotics Force. among others.
The conference also brought together international partners including IOM, UNODC and international embassies who engaged in a panel discussion to present their respective ongoing training initiatives.
ICMPD Head of Office, Ms. Raana Rahim, reinforced how international partners’ efforts have a tangible impact and emphasised how important the FIA’s support in implementing training activities is, stating “throughout every step of the process the [FIA] management has consistently brought a vision for sustained improvements to the table [that] was translated into meaningful actions … without this, it would have been impossible to develop the skills and knowledge of individual [FIA] officers to advanced levels.”
As trainings remain a priority for the FIA, these efforts will continue to strengthen both Pakistan’s border authorities as well as international partnerships, through effective and efficient capacity building and development.
Context: The training conference is organised in the framework of the “Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries” (IBM-Silk Routes) project. The IBM-Silk Routes project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by ICMPD. The project aims to support the countries of the Silk Routes region, including Pakistan, to build more effective and efficient border management systems, and in doing so strengthen the capacity of state authorities to combat irregular migration, encourage safe migration, and enhance trade and prosperity across borders.