Azerbaijani delegation comprising representatives of relevant governmental bodies will take part at the final conference of Supporting Integrated Border Management in the South Caucasus (SCIBM) due on September 18-19 in Brussels.
The strategic location of the South Caucasus (SC) countries at the 'Silk Road' transit route makes border management a key issue. Efficient and effective border management will contribute to the creation of an area of security and freedom, where citizens can travel more freely and trade can flourish - key prerequisites for economic growth and poverty reduction. At the same time, threats related to abuse of borders, such as smuggling of goods and trafficking in people, drugs and weapons can be better addressed if authorities responsible for management of the crossing of state borders improve their co-operation. Such co-operation is part of the “Integrated Border Management (IBM)” concept, which covers “the coordination and cooperation among all relevant authorities and agencies involved in border security and trade facilitation to establish effective, efficient and integrated border management systems, in order to reach the common goal of open but controlled and secure borders”.
In the specific context of the South Caucasus, the current border management approach demonstrates important discrepancies and often fails to include all relevant agencies involved in BM. Considering the benefits of the IBM model, the Governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have demonstrated their firm commitment to advance IBM system in a ministerial declaration supporting the upcoming SCIBM programme on10 October 2007. The three countries expressed an interest to advance domestic integration between government agencies as well as to make bi-lateral integration efforts (between Armenia-Georgia and Azerbaijan-Georgia) in partnership with counterparts from EU Member States (EUMS).