Enhancing trans-border cooperation to tackle illicit trafficking
The destabilizing effect of illicit traffic flows and their impact on development and security in the Sahel and its surroundings are extremely serious. Criminal networks have stepped up their transborder operations in the Sahel and expanded their illicit business activities throughout the region. Improving national and cross‐border coordination between law enforcement agencies is essential to ensure an integrated approach in the fight against illicit trafficking and organized crime.
To contribute to these efforts, UNODC organized, with the support of the government of Germany, a workshop on border control with a special focus on land borders, on 28-29 January 2015. With the objective of bringing together the leaders of different relevant institutions, the workshop aimed at enabling the drafting of recommendations conducive to improvements in border control, with particular focus on the main entry points of the Sahel region.
The workshop reunited 35 representatives of 20 institutions (such as the Police, Immigration, Customs, and Drug Enforcement agencies) from four countries (Senegal, Mali, Ghana and Togo), along with UNODC experts. It featured thematic presentations on specific issues related to drugs, firearms and human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and corruption.
The event took place following UNODC field and assessment missions, which took place between October 2014 and early January 2015, when UNODC experts contacted and met with and contacted over 45 stakeholders in four countries (Senegal, Mali, Ghana and Togo), and carried out field visits to border crossing points. The workshop set the stage to discuss the visions of national partners, who evaluated the information gathered during assessment missions regarding the status of existing mechanisms and resources available to improve the efficiency of interagency coordination.
Strategic and operational recommendations agreed-upon during the workshop include, among others: the need to enhance interagency coordination and collaboration; enhancing trans-border cooperation; engaging civil society and border communities; improving technical skills of available human resources and equipment; and strengthening the ability to process and develop criminal operational intelligence.
In the scope of the continuation of the UNODC Contribution to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, UNODC is developing several activities to enhance border control in order to assist member states in addressing the different types and forms of illicit trafficking affecting the region.