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Ghana, three others to strengthen cooperation on border management

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Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo have committed to strengthen cooperation on border management under the coordination of ECOWAS and the support of the European Union (EU).

The four countries have committed to a common declaration for the benefit and security of citizens in the sub region of the Economic Community of West African States.

This followed SBS Ghana project regional conference held in Accra with high-level representatives and technical experts of governments of the four countries to discuss issues related to security and cross-border cooperation.

Mr Marco Bordignon, Head of Office, ICMPD Ghana and Strengthening Border Security (SBS) Ghana project office, said in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister for the Interior, was quoted as saying: “Ghana recognises the ECOWAS protocols, which affects borders, as well as the mutual benefits through the shared border communities.

“We also strongly endorse and advance policies that reinforce the principles of the African Union relating to greater integration, improvement in cross border trade, and safe /secure legitimate movement of people across borders.”

Mr Irchad Razaaly, European Union Ambassador to Ghana also said: “The efficient implementation of border management practices, which respects and supports human rights and freedom of movement, contribute to more stable and vibrant societies and citizens’ freedoms, including the right to live in a safe environment.

“We hope, together with each one of the participating states, to lay the foundation for a joint strategic vision for regional border security cooperation and contribute to increase the effectiveness of border management institutions.

“The EU is committed to upholding these rights through its support for better border management practices.”

The objective of the Regional Conference was to propose policy solutions to strengthen coordination and cooperation at the operational level in cross-border areas.

The conference took a dual format, with both high-level meetings at the ministerial level and a technical workshop with border management agencies.

“We have no choice, but to come together and work to meet all the security, economic, social and other challenges related to the management of our common borders,” Mr Akobi Messan, Chief Director, Minister of Security and Civil Protection, Togo said.

In the final Communique, the four countries acknowledged the importance of ensuring effective coordination of border management, in particular through joint training and awareness raising activities, joint operations and patrols, harmonization of standard operating procedures, risk management, and information sharing.

The final communique recommends keeping the conference as a consultative forum for periodic meetings and setting up a technical working group under a specific legal framework.

The institutionalisation of informal collaboration frameworks along border areas were also identified as a priority for the four countries.

Mr Alcide Djedje, Minister of African Integration, Cote d’Ivoire, said: “We must achieve perfect and frank cross-border collaboration and cooperation between the different agencies.

“And this through the involvement of non-institutional actors, the interconnection of information systems, the establishment of a platform for the exchange of information and intelligence, and especially capacity building.”

The final communique also underlined the importance of capturing those interventions under respective national budgets for securing quality and sustainability of service delivery.

Effective border delimitation and demarcation was also underlined as a priority by the signatories of the document.

“We are resolutely determined to make border areas with your countries safe living and development spaces, and to do this, security remains the key word,” Clarisse Merindol Ouoba, Deputy Minister in charge of African Integration, Burkina Faso.

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said, “I am hopeful that this Regional Conference on Border Management and Security will foster closer collaboration with counterparts in neighbouring countries to enhance and exchange data as well as share information between border control authorities.

“This would reduce irregular migration, the smuggling of goods and persons, and curb other cross-border crimes within the framework of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.”

The SBS Ghana project is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development in collaboration with the Ghana Immigration Service.

Source: GNA

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