- …Ghana, neighbours sign onto pack
The Government of Ghana under the auspices of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), together with its neighbouring countries -Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo, has developed and adopted 14 policy guidelines to follow in order to enhance border management and security.
The GIS and its similar organisations in the neighbouring countries among others developed these aforementioned guidelines during a three-day regional conference on International Cooperation in Border Management and Security, held in Accra.
Funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the conference was attended by representatives of ministries of foreign affairs, interior, high-level security officials and representatives of border management agencies.
The 14 guidelines adopted after the all-inclusive deliberation on issues concerning integrated border management includes Effective border management coordination to include joint training, joint operations, aligned SOPs, information sharing and digital databases; Properly set up a technical working group among the four countries within a well-defined legal framework; Involving border communities in border management through community development and engagement; and the Accra Initiative should be strengthened , made permanent and more inclusive to include other border management agencies.
Others are: Governments to commit adequate resources for border management; Joint border commissions should ensure proper demarcations to avoid border instability; Retain this forum as a potential technical working group; Identify focal points in each country to facilitate intelligence gathering and sharing, foster inter-agency corporation internally and across borders.
The last four guidelines are: Include language proficiency (French/English) as a prerequisite for recruitment/ enlistment into border management agencies; Strengthening the monitoring & evaluation units of each border management agency to ensure efficiency; Develop an action plan to guide in the mapping out of strategies and associated activities towards the achievement of both short and long-term goals; Governments must show commitment to ensure the sustainability of border management strategies and policies; and Formalize the existing informal cross-border security committee.
The Director-General, Ministry of Interior, Adelaide Anno-Kumi, on behalf of the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery, in the closing address, indicated that considering the discussions and policy developments, it is clear that border management has assumed a shared responsibility, hence the need for members to standby their commit to achieve the intended goal.
Chairman of the Conference and Minister of Foreign Affairs & Diaspora Integration, Cote d’Ivoire, Djedje Alcide, emphasized that there is a need to strengthen security to address border challenges and piracy on the Gulf of Guinea.
He commended the EUTF and ICMPD for steeping to ensure such an important engagement become a reality under the coordination ECOWAS. Adding that Ghana plays a key leadership role in promotion of peace and security in the sub-region; therefore, all the neighbouring countries will commit to the guidelines to attain an integrated success.
Comptroller-General, GIS, Kwame Asuah-Takyi, reiterated the importance of such a technical workshop to equip personnel of the GIS with the requisite knowledge in modern-day border management.
“A guideline like the ‘Involvement of border communities in border management: community development and engagement,’ for instance is very relevant because this local borderline community members know themselves very well and a collaboration with them will go a long way to help the work of the GIS as they will all ways leak important information to the service to identify total strangers,” he said.