Border management remains an important topic in Madagascar, a country with more than 5,000 km of coastline and a strategic location, just across the Mozambique Channel in the Western Indian Ocean.
Still recovering from cycles of political crisis that significantly degraded the capacity of the State to police its borders, Madagascar recognizes that its porous borders have been conducive to forms of transnational and national criminal and illegal activities.
Today (21/06), during a ceremony at the capital’s Ivato International Airport, IOM handed over to national authorities a Coordination Centre equipped with customized technology solutions and guided by the concepts of Integrated Border Management practice. The event brought together Ministers and senior Government officials.
As the UN agency for migration, IOM is increasingly called upon by States to assist in addressing complex border management challenges. The Immigration and Border Management (IBM) Division supports Member States in improving the policy, legislation, operational systems, human resources and administrative and technical structures required to respond more effectively to diverse migration and border management challenges.
The Coordination Centre provides a work platform for the country’s five key border management and security agencies – immigration police, customs, intelligence, health, and Gendarmerie – and gives them a forum to exchange data and monitor border risks and threats in real time.
In comments to the press during the handover ceremony, IOM Madagascar Chief of Mission Daniel Silva y Poveda noted that “the challenge today is not the quantity of information. There is more information than ever before. The challenge is actionable information.”
He added, “The Centre provides an interface for various border agencies to share information they collect primarily in the own interest, and through which you can connect the dots and detect patterns of risks or illegal and criminal activities with regards to the crossing of Madagascar’s borders.”
Images from the Airport’s security cameras, customs scanners, and flight schedules are displayed on screens at the Centre. Through a customized application, the agencies now can share and request data amongst the databases of each entity, thereby crossing and leveraging information.
The Centre is also interconnected with various existing immigration information and data systems, including IOM’s MIDAS (Migration Information and Data Analysis System), already operational as pilot projects at two airports in Madagascar.
The setting up of the coordination centre was implemented under IOM’s broader Support to the Security Sector Reform in Madagascar project. Under this initiative – funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UN-PBF) – IOM has been designated lead implementor of a multifaceted border management component.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).