East and Horn of Africa border agencies boost cooperation: joint patrols, more border crossing points and exchange of best practices

NEWS | 05 November 2018

The East and Horn of Africa borders are some of the busiest in the world, as they cut across key migration routes to Europe and the Gulf countries. With different national priorities, cooperation is not always easy. Last week, border authorities from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania – some meeting for the first time – took significant steps to boost this cooperation, including the establishment of inter-agency cross-border technical working groups. The meeting also allowed for bilateral and trilateral encounters through which several countries established joint cross-border patrols, decided to work towards opening joint border crossings, and agreed on measures to exchange best practices.

The meeting, which took place in Nairobi (Kenya) last week, followed a first-of-its-kind workshop organized by the UN migration agency IOM in late October. All parties have requested that yet another follow-up meeting take place. This meeting will be prepared by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme.

The meeting, which was supported by the BMM, led to the following bilateral and trilateral cooperation decisions:

  • For the first time, Ethiopia and South Sudan agreed to conduct joint cross-border patrols and to work to open new border crossings points between the two countries.
  • Sudan and South Sudan agreed to work together to open four border crossing points, including One Stop Border Posts. At a One Stop Border Posts, passengers, cargo and vehicles stop just once to process border crossing formalities when exiting one country and entering another. These would replace Two Step Border Posts.
  • Uganda and South Sudan agreed to implement joint cross-border patrols and to establish Integrated Border Management Committees.
  • Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia agreed to implement Integrated Border Management Committees and cross-border patrols.
  • Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania agreed to increased cooperation, exchange and implement best practices on counter-trafficking efforts, as well as to establish cross-border patrols.

Keynote speaker at the workshop, Kenya Principal Secretary for Immigration and Registration of Persons, Mr. Gordon Kihalangwa, said: “With increasing complexity of migration flows, countries in the East and Horn of Africa region should enhance cross-border cooperation in order to effectively deal with existing challenges in border management which include; trafficking of persons and smuggling of migrants among other forms of transnational organized crime”.

Background

BMM is a regional, multi-year, multi-partner programme co-funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The BMM aims to provide capacity building to improve migration management, in particular to prevent and address irregular migration, including smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.

 

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