Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

This three-day training was the third one implemented within the Prague Process Training Academy, following the ones on International Protection and on Trafficking in Human Beings, organised in 2018 in Rome and Baku respectively. The training in Kiev gathered 50 participants, including representatives of 13 participating states, the European Commission and a number of renowned trainers.

The Head of State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGS), Mr. Petro Tsygykal, opened the event, underlining that it represented a recognition of Ukraine’s Integrated Border Management (IBM) system and of the excellent collaboration with ICMPD, which was further enhanced through the recent signing of a Cooperation Agreement. Since the introduction of the IBM concept in Ukraine nine years ago, the country has successfully addressed ten IBM areas. The SBGS is ready to cooperate with all relevant international partners. Ukraine has realised several twinning projects with EU Member States, which will support the elaboration of the new Border Management Strategy. Ukraine has been returning irregular migrants seized at the borders to their respective countries of origin and transit, applying the respective best practice approaches. A unified readmission area shall be established jointly with the State Migration Service. In order to enhance security in the region, all Parties were invited to join this area.            

The Deputy Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, Ms Natalia Naumenko, underlined the timeliness of the training and importance of the border management and return. Ukraine continues to improve its migration management system as exemplified by the current Migration Strategy that reaches until 2025. The migration processes in the EU have resulted in a need to adjust Ukraine’s IBM system. The concrete measures taken have included the introduction of biometric passports for Ukrainian and foreign citizens, the elaboration of new ICT solutions to enhance inter-agency cooperation and improved linkages between the migration and border services. The establishing of a virtual contact centre shall help to address future emergencies. The overall objective is to simultaneously improve the national security and free movement of people. The role of the Prague Process in bringing in excellent experts and enhancing the dissemination of good practices was underlined.

The first day of training focused on IBM Strategic Planning, including an introduction into the IBM Concept, its key areas of intervention and the current state of play within the EU. The sessions on Strategic development, risk analyses and information exchange were of operational nature and raised interesting debates among the trainees during the following working group sessions. The importance of ensuring that human rights are protected was equally addressed.

The second day of training was devoted to the newest border technologies and respective technical solutions, including an outlook into the future design of EU borders. Group exercises then engaged the trainees to test their new knowledge by assessing technical needs, planning workflows at a modern BCP and discuss the limitations of using technologies. The following training-of-trainers session introduced an IBM Training Manual for independent capacity building and various novelties in the training methodologies on Border Management. The training design was equally addressed, with an emphasis on the Sectoral Qualifications Framework.

The final day was entirely devoted to the issue of return, including an introduction into the EU’s respective policy framework, as well as the concepts of forced and voluntary return. The fundamental rights applicable within return operations were discussed in detail before looking into forced return monitoring. The training ended with another interactive group exercise and the final feedback session, which saw many positive reactions on behalf of the training participants.