A new look of the state boundary
In the year 2006 24 million people and more than 8 million vehicles crossed the Belarusian border. This flow is growing larger from year to year, there are attempts on the migrants’ and traders’ part to cross the border illegally as well as drug smuggling. To counteract these illegal phenomena and at the same time to create comfortable environment for crossing the boundary by the law-abiding citizens it is necessary to establish international cooperation and collaboration in dealing with frontier issues at all levels as well as to implement the standards for national border crossing. This includes quick passing through the check points, social conditions at the border check points, professionalism and kindness of the officers
The most significant recent event in the sphere of international cooperation on border issues is the implementation of the series of the European Union’s programmes, the United Nations Development Programme on the Enhancing Border Management in the Republic of Belarus (BOMBEL-1, 2) for the period of 2005–2007. These projects are the contribution of the EU and UNDP to those fields of border-security service that are the part of the European frontier security system to be built.
The main trends in carrying-out of the programme are as follows: establishment of the up-to-date infrastructure, further development of checking procedures, modern equipment supplies, extension of the basis for patrol dogs breeding, foundation of two centers (in Brest and Pinsk) for temporary keep of illegal migrants and persons applying for being declared fugitives.
Sergei Prikhodko was the project manager of “BOMBEL-1”; he remained at the post when “BOMBEL-2”, a project on international technical support registered as “Enhancing the System of Immigration Control at the State Border of the Republic of Belarus”, was implemented. According to his version, the implementation of the project presents both positive trends and difficulties. The positive moments lie in the fact that the level of cooperation between the Belarusian frontiersmen and the international organizations as well as the level of interaction with the border troop committees of the donor countries has a comparatively new nature. The majority of the seminars and trainings carried out with the help of the European experts look more like exchange of experience than pure training. In the framework of familiarization visits our frontiersmen and their foreign colleagues learn how their cooperative efforts can insure comfortable life of the continent citizens.
At the same time there are number of difficulties in such areas as biometrics utilization and integration of automation media systems for border control — Belarus is among the first to implement such systems. Not many EU countries can boast to have successfully introduced similar systems. Those countries are the German Federal Republic, France, and the United Kingdom. But to perform adequate training and exchange of experience in these countries appears to be quite difficult.
Another problem lies in the programmes’ fast flow (their duration is 1–1.5 years), and construction of various objects planned to be performed in the framework of these programmes doesn’t fit in the time constraints. Nowadays construction cycle (the period from the designing start-up up to the introduction of the object) makes 2–2.5 years. In such a situation one has to reckon only on the programmes donors’ awareness.
— But I’m sure that we will be able to implement the programme at the stated time due to fact that the project management team has support at all levels. It’s worth mentioning that the Ministry of Economic Affairs performs a quick registration of the programmes, says Sergei Prikhodko.
In the year 2007 the amount of foreign investments will increase nearly three times and this is a consequence of effective and purposeful investment of capital and efforts made to enhance the Belarusian border.
The main objective of “BOMBEL-2” is further increase in potential of the border troops of the Republic of Belarus in the fields that were not included in “BOMBEL-1” or that need additional attention. In the framework of the programme implementation, automation and technical reequipment of the check points and border control units will be completed in accordance with the standards of the EU leading countries. In particular, the highway, railway and basic check points will be fully automated and equipped with systems for biometric control; the mobile component of the state boundary control will be enhanced, what will lead to significant increase in possibilities for “green” border smuggling management and control.
In the course of the joint work the Belarusian frontiersmen have built constructive business relations with the management and staff of the UNO Mission / UNDP in Belarus, what makes it possible to hope not only for the successful implementation of “BOMBEL-2”, but also for further profitable cooperation.