UNODC participated in the 2023 World Border Security Congress

25-27 April 2023, Skopje, North Macedonia: UNODC participated in the 2023 World Border Security Congress gathering over 400 senior representatives from national border, police, customs, and immigration services, as well as organisations and suppliers from the border management and security industries from over 50 countries.

The World Border Security Congress is a high-level event that discusses and debates current and future policies, implementation issues and challenges as well as new and developing technologies that contribute towards safe and secure border and migration management. It aims to promote collaboration, inter-agency cooperation and information/intelligence sharing among border security agencies to better engage and tackle cross-border threats and security challenges that pertain to today’s global environment.

The event was opened by the Minister of Interior of North Macedonia followed by opening remarks and keynotes from representatives of IOM, OSCE, the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), European Association of Airport and Seaport Police (EAASP) and the UNODC Head of Coordination at Border Management Branch (BMB).

On the first day of the congress, a site visit to the Skopje International Airport was organized, where the delegates visited the Border Interagency Unit (BIU), an airport inter-agency unit whose establishment was supported by UNODC BMB through its UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and UNODC-INTERPOL-WCO Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP), and in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The congress also discussed securing maritime borders and combatting maritime crime, trafficking in human beings and migration-related crime including the migration crisis in the digital age, counterterrorism and cross-border organised crime, the continuing development of digital borders and use of data, including API/PNR ongoing developments, travel documents security and traveler programs as well as changing challenges to trade and customs. UNODC moderated this discussion and presented current methodologies aimed at addressing threats at borders and enhancing the capacities of law enforcement agencies engaged in the border management process.

The congress strived to showcase that a border is much more than a line on a map, it is a combination of organizations, policies, processes and procedures that control, monitor and protect physical cross-border crossings of people and goods, involving public and private sector systems and technology, and that its management is vital to a country’s economy, safety, biosecurity and ability to combat illegal activity.