By Olimatou Coker
The Geneva Centre For Security Sector Governance (DCAF) in partnership with The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) on Friday launched The Gambia Integrated Border Management (IBM) at a launching held at Mezty Hotel.
The IBM is a framework for improving border management across multiple agencies. The concept aims to strengthen national security while facilitating trade and travel and to address the country’s porous borders and an efficient border management system. By coordinating and integrating the work of different agencies. The integrated border management concept will help to eliminate contradictions or redundancies in policies leading to more effective implementation.
The Gambia integrated border management concept and implementation plan was developed through the partnership of DCAF and The Gambia Immigration Department and was validated by national stakeholders last month.
Since the launch of the security sector reform process in the country in 2017, significant progress has been achieved by developing an underlying strategic framework and security sector architecture, creating a foundation for reforming security agencies. The government has shown a solid commitment to reforming the security sector by adopting the national security policy in 2019, the National Security Strategy in 2020 and the security sector strategy (2020 -2024).
Border security remains a central focus for all security institutions in the Gambia. Many existing or emerging interests are linked to the country’s porous borders and inefficient border management systems.
Since the Gambia faces multiple challenges regarding border security and management like most countries, implementing integrated border management effectively and efficiently will ensure a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to border issues.
Abraham Mendy, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Interior, said with the launch, it is hoped that in the coming years of the implementation process, integrated border management will contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals. “And more specifically,will contribute to a significant reduction of the illicit financial and arms flow, strengthening the recovery and return of stolen assets and combating all forms of organized crime. We Are strengthening the relevant national security institutions capacity at all levels to prevent all forms of violence at the border crossing points and combat terrorism and crime as well.”
Hulay Jallow, the Deputy Director of the Gambia Immigration Department, expressed optimism that the concept will help to address the country’s outstanding border security crisis.
“In principle it will strengthen community resilience and social cohesion with the border communities thereby addressing the causes of instability and conflict in border communities, which includes, but not limited to weak border management practices, fairly mistrust between border authorities and communities. Raising transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of migrants and trafficking persons, as well as addressing the illegal exploitation of natural resources leading to environmental degradation.”
She also thanked the Swiss government for their support to the security sector reform process.
Adding that their support has been instrumental in empowering us to achieve our mission and improve our capacity to effectively safeguard our borders.
Ken Isaac, Head of DCAF Office in Banjul, said they conducted a comprehensive assessment of borders and checkpoints. “We convened an introductory two day workshop on the proposal of IBM with the office of national security, Gambia immigration department and all national agencies involved in border security. We conducted a data collection workshop with IBM with key border agencies and designed a data collection template.”
Mark Lynch, DCAF Senior Board Management Adviser, said DCAF will now continue working on the implementation of IBM in the Gambia through the provisional support, “ And I can outline the support that’s going to be provided until the end of the current GID and decaf program. At the end of June 2024.”