Border Management

Border agencies are responsible for facilitating the legitimate movement of people and goods, while at the same time maintaining secure and preventing criminal activities from happing across borders, thus ensuring the right balance between openness and control. This task is seriously challenged during times of humanitarian crises situations, during which States often decide to close borders in an attempt to curb large scale cross-border movements for the sake of security and stability. Well-prepared and tailored response mechanisms at the borders or at places where migrants or forcibly displaced persons looking for a safety, humanitarian action often is only possible if borders remain open because they are well controlled and vulnerable migrants in need of protection or assistance can find a secure environment to recover from their ordeal. 

Through its programming in the field of Immigration and Border Management, but in particularly on Humanitarian Border Management (HBM), IOM contributes towards ensuring that States can effectively manage movements through borders and their territory in line with international standards. IOM works to support governments to observe the rights of migrants, facilitate safe and regular channels of migration, while at the same time combat transnational crime, particularly the smuggling or trafficking of migrants. This is done in cooperation with other International Partners and local civil society and the private sector, through building human and technical capacities to improve policies and operational systems through tailored capacity building or equipment/infrastructural support. 

IOM also constantly strives to improve and evolve to meet new migration challenges, like supporting States affected by humanitarian crisis situations with the registration and reception of migrants, identification and referral of vulnerable people, building capacities and procuring equipment for search and rescue operations at sea, or in the vast areas of the Sahara Desert. In the MENA region, IOM’s migration management portfolio also includes Community Policing initiatives, supporting community-level peace and security with an increased focused on border communities and increasing the capacity of the MoI for central-local co-ordination on community policing approaches and interventions. 

  • IOM organized the first Roundtable Meeting in support of the Regional Cooperation on Migration Management in Sahel and Maghreb in Niamey, Niger. Delegations from Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Chad, Mali and the host Government of Niger met to discuss cross-border challenges along the Central Mediterranean Migration Route, as well as the threat of communicable diseases spreading across borders.  

    Main recommendations from the meeting were: 

    • Strengthen the operational capabilities of the border forces in the field of border surveillance, incl. search and rescue on land and at sea; 

    • Better coordinate actions and improve information exchange in the fight against transnational crime; 

    • Improve the cross-border coordination mechanism by creating a regional working group for a better response to public health threats and information sharing for cross-border emergencies; 

    • Improve the cross-border coordination mechanism by creating a regional working group for a better response to public health threats and information sharing for cross-border emergencies

The main donors for IBM projects in the region are (in alphabetic order) the Governments of Canada, Germany, Japan and the United States, as well as the European Union. Due to the highly technical nature of the IBM programs, IOM is partnering with other UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes or individual IOM Member States, to create synergies and benefit from each other’s specific expertise.