Future directions and recommendations
The ongoing EU-BOMNAF Project started a three year Phase II on 1 July 2014. If there is to be a further continuation of EU funded UNDP managed border management projects, it is appropriate to begin planning and preparation as far in advance as practically possible. This will ensure that existing projects have sufficient time to ensure retention of suitably competent staff members and to maintain systems of cooperation, collaboration and support on both sides of the border. In addition, there are a number of specific measures which should be developed over the next three years and beyond:
Streamline procurement processes
To avoid delays with procurement of any kind, RFP should be written carefully and regular communication should be maintained with UNDP CO and HQ emphasising the time-sensitiveness of the project. Indulgent and over-optimistic projections of procurement timelines and capacities should be avoided. Before any procurement process is initiated, a minuted meeting should be held between procurement, programme and project managers to plan activities and forecast timelines.
Communicate, cooperate, and coordinate (CCC)
Continue to develop coordination and improve collaboration with project beneficiaries and partners to implement activities within planned schedule and Annual Work Plan.
Afghanistan beyond 2014
In accordance with the Istanbul Process, develop confidence building measures, by assisting in the development of issues such as:
- Regional Technical Working Group (TWG) for borders.
- Empower borderlands communities by providing opportunities for engagement and collaboration with ABP. This could be implemented through NGOs already working within communities.
- Encourage the hosting of cross-border joint trainings, workshops, symposia etc at Border Crossing Points.
- Support initiatives for joint patrolling of mutual borders and any potential for joint infrastructure.
- Continue exchange of ideas through a conference to be held in Kabul and/or Mazar-e-Sharif.
- Support to UNDP and other regional development and cross-border initiatives.
- Support development of regional trade and transit.
The future – training
In support of plans outlined in the EU-BOMNAF Project Document, the Training Ideas Matrix below illustrates plans and ideas for development of capacity building and training over the next three years.
Deployment of mentors to remote parts of the Afghan-Tajik border is programmatically demanding and financially expensive; however, previous projects have comprehensively demonstrated that international mentors working in the field, side-by-side with local national colleagues invariably achieve very significant and positive results.
In order to be valid and regionally useful, curricula for local training on the border will involve long-term and development subjects. Train-the-Trainer courses will promote building an enduring training capacity. Training in practical technical, mechanical, and specialist subjects will build the ability to maintain border agencies’ assets and facilities. Human rights, anti-corruption, and integrity training will promote 21st Century IBM concepts. In addition to advanced elements of IBM, DRR, Transparency, Integrity & Accountability, and Rule of Law training and mentoring will be implemented to address issues related to Anti-Corruption, human rights, professional ethics, gender integration, cross-border management and community-based border management, migration management, including cross-cultural interaction, as well as technical, mechanical and specialist skills, including maintenance of assets and facilities.
The future – cooperation
Assist in the improvement of infrastructure and service delivery of ABP. Achievements made under previous projects will be replicated within the framework of these proposed initiatives. Interventions will combine activities related to improved governance, leading to better cross-border cooperation, improved operational standards and enhanced human security on both sides of the border. This will directly and indirectly contribute to conflict prevention and security as well as stabilization of borderlands areas.
As part of a strategy which will assist the creation of adequate conditions for increased cross-border cooperation, sharing of experience, training and operational exchanges, special attention will be given to activities promoting:
- Regional Development. Improve support approaches to allow local access to trans-frontier health services.
- Regional Support. Support regional trade facilitation and commerce between Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries, to encourage trade and transit.
- Regional Integration. Create international border management systems on Afghanistan’s northern border and, to promote cross-border cooperation, encourage Tajikistan
- Border Force to participate at ABP training events in the field, along the border.
- Regional Infrastructure. Strengthen legal and social infrastructure to assist management of labour and migration in borderlands communities.
- Regional Trade. Increase and improve local capacity and resources to promote possibilities related to local cross-border cooperation and international trade.
Partnership and synergies
Cooperation with regional development and cross-border projects such as UNDP LITACA should be developed. Further consideration and joint brainstorming is required here. Clear indicators of success should be identified and ‘partnership’ should indicate practical working together, rather than an occasional meeting or matching dialogue in project documents.
There is considerable interest in an enhanced cross-border policy dialogue at all levels in order to build political bridges across the region. Achieving this and supporting efforts practically requires ongoing communication and a continuous commitment not only at technical but also at the highest political level between Afghanistan and all Central Asian countries. Whilst EU-BOMNAF has minimal influence in such issues, the project stands prepared to support regional and cross-border collaborative activities.
Plans for the future should include more cooperation and liaison events. Achieving a positive future and supporting efforts practically requires ongoing communication and a continuous commitment not only at technical but also at the highest political level between Afghanistan and all Central Asian countries. There is broad support for increased engagement across the region and an emerging consensus that together we can be stronger. Greater cross-border dialogue between border practitioners should be encouraged through meetings hosted, in Kabul, in Mazar-e-Sharif and in Dushanbe over the course of the next two to three years. Such events should include senior officers from border agencies and government officials.
Donor coordination and interagency coordination meetings
With the demise of BOMCA, EU-BOMNAF has taken over the secretariat responsibilities to maintain and run the monthly Borders Implementation Working Group (BIG) meetings in Dushanbe.
The future – development challenge
The Development and Government communities need a better understanding of the needs of commerce and business. This could be achieved through public-private dialogue both at national and regional levels. Improved cross-border cooperation between Afghanistan and Tajikistan and the other Central Asian countries is at the core of regional development and economic growth. Currently there is somewhat limited cooperation between the Governments of Afghanistan and Central Asia in matters of trade and migration. Appropriate reforms are an essential pre-condition for regional development, and border management and training programmes should be structured to reflect this.
Legitimate trade and transit is vital in alleviating poverty and supporting sustainable economic growth in the region. Insecurity and illegal activities greatly impede the development of safe trade corridors and transit routes. Economic growth is virtually impossible without appropriately open and securely managed borders. This may be achieved by continuing to improve the education, skills and capacities of border and customs services staff, as well as enhanced control systems, modern equipment and upgraded infrastructure. There should also be a greater focus on the improvement of opportunities for recruitment, training and promotion of women on the border.
Legal trade and migration, as well as effective border management, requires cooperation on the border from both sides, with an equal level of commitment, based on sharing of information and mutual liaison. Fostering effective collaboration between the Governments of Central Asia and Afghanistan is vital. Cross-border and cooperative development programmes can contribute greatly to building capacity. Information should be shared across borders, between services and at all levels.
The future – conclusion
The future is full of opportunities for cooperation and potential for regional development across Afghanistan’s northern frontier and BOMNAF has already played a very significant part in such development. To continue ongoing successes, EU-BOMNAF should maintain its present dynamism, agility and forward-looking stance. UNDP has developed a strong partnership with the EU, with a solid portfolio of projects on border management. More broadly, the strengthening of capacity of law enforcement institutions has been built with EU funding and UNDP implementation. By improving the enabling environment for international border management, potential capacities of local communities and civil society for effective cross-border cooperation and participation in local governance and development process and planning, based upon ongoing needs of borderlands communities, may also be strengthened.