European practices on border management inspire the Dominican Republic

For the third Action in Dominican Republic, the National Institute for Migration (INM) requested support from MIEUX+ to develop the capacities of national authorities dealing with migration and border management issues on these topics. The three webinars created a virtual space for exchange of knowledge and experience on border management featuring EU experts and more than 100 Dominican Republican officials from the Directorate General for Migration, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Migration and MIEUX in Dominican Republic

As the Caribbean country hosting the largest number of immigrants, the Dominican Republic is an significant country of destination but also of origin for migration. Migration management is a top priority for the Dominican government, given the country’s porous border with neighbouring Haiti and its complex border context in light of socio-economic inequalities between the two countries. Building on previous collaborations in this topic, the National Institute for Migration (NIM) requested support from MIEUX+ to strengthen the capacities of national authorities in the areas of border management.

Past Actions in the Caribbean country include the development of a comprehensive human-rights based training curriculum for migration officers in collaboration with the National Institute’s School for Migration, under Dominican Republic II Action, or the development of an awareness-raising campaign on the advantages of legal migration and the regularisation procedures for irregular migration under the Dominican Republic III Action.

This new request focused on supporting capacity development of public officials dealing with migration and border management issues through knowledge exchange with EU peers. The Dominican Republic public officials had the opportunity to become familiarised with the EU approach on border management and combatting irregular migration and were encouraged to think how some of the mechanisms in place in the EU could be applied in the DR context.

Sharing experiences and knowledge on border management

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this Action involving over 100 public officials from the Caribbean country, was held online. To reach the main objective of the project, MIEUX+ and the National Institute for Migration (NIM) organised three webinars featuring experts from the EU who shared their experience and knowledge on the topics with public officials from the Directorate General for Migration, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dealing with migration and border management issues.

The Action kicked off on 15 June 2021 with the first webinar on EU border management rules and procedures where the expert Armin Vogl from the Austrian Police set the scene on the overall European context of migration, the actors involved in the EU border security as well as the migration regulatory framework in the EU.

Building from this first webinar, the second online meeting took place on 22 June 2021 on land border management and combatting irregular migration. This time, expert Fernando Alonso Aviles from the Spanish police, exchanged with the participants on the challenges of increased flow of people and the methods of process them, the role of new technological systems to know the protocols in the EU, and lastly, the security standards required for border inspection. During the first two webinars, participants expressed their interest in knowing more about specific topics on the European Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy during the third webinar and the latter was tailored to their feedback

The last webinar, which also marked the end of this Action, featured experts Armin Vogl (Austrian Police) and Borut Eržen (Head of ICMPD’s Border Security and Management Program), who introduced the IBM topic and the role of ICMPD in developing the guidelines for the existing strategy. Experts presented the international cooperation protocols with neighbouring and other foreign countries, border control activities as well as quality control mechanisms.

Lessons learned

Overall, this Action enabled an exchange of EU experience and best practices on border management as well as providing an overview of the European reality, which is constantly adapting to meet new challenges and evolving according to unforeseen situations, to the over 100 participants.

Despite the online format imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, experts involved participants by asking them to share their experiences related to the Dominican Republican context and thus, bridge the gap between one regional reality and another.

In spite of the important regional and national different contexts, participants discussed about the nexus between migration and development and border management from an administrative point of view, as well as examples of cooperation protocols, mechanisms and tools in the Caribbean region.

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