The Ukrainian city of Lviv this week hosted an international conference on ‘Border Security in Action. Success in Partnership’. The event marked the successful completion of the EU-funded SURCAP-2 project, aimed at strengthening security in the region in general, but more specifically along the common Belarus-Ukraine border.
The issue of integrated border management has risen up the public agenda given the migration situation in Europe, and the unstable political and economic situation in several regions, causing an increase in the number of irregular migrants and the need for good migration management.
This makes it all the more important to establish partnership and cooperation among border guard agencies and relevant international organisations that provide expertise, and technical and financial support. “For the EU, border management is a priority within the Eastern Partnership,” said Outa Hermalahti, Representative of the EU Delegation to Belarus.
Hermalahti said that within the framework of the SURCAP-2 project, the border agencies of Belarus and Ukraine had been given equipment to strengthen border control, but highlighted the importance “not only of technical equipment, but also cooperation and experience exchange with their colleagues in neighboring countries.”
Zeynal Hajiyev, head of the Minsk Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which implemented the project, said SURCAP-2 was “proof that Belarus and Ukraine are moving in the right direction, strengthening bilateral cooperation to ensure secure and humane migration for the benefit of all.”
The SURCAP-2 project aimed to contribute to the overall increased operational efficiency of the Belarusian and Ukrainian border services across the countries' joint frontier. It included training activities, as well as large-scale procurement of specialized surveillance equipment for the border guards of Belarus and Ukraine.