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02 July 2014

INTERPOL workshop aims to strengthen border security in Central and West Africa

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – More than 80 high-level law enforcement delegates from 19 Central and West African countries have gathered in Abidjan to take part in INTERPOL’s Regional Threat Assessment Workshop, focusing on strengthening border management and countering people smuggling in Central and West Africa. The delegates included heads of police, immigration and INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs).

Organized by INTERPOL’s Capacity Building and Training Directorate, in close partnership with its Integrated Border Management Task Force (IBMTF) and its Regional Bureau in Abidjan, the two-day (1-2 July) workshop formally marked the launch of the INTERPOL Capacity Building Programme to Strengthen Border Management in West Africa.

At the opening ceremony, the Deputy Director General of Cote d’Ivoire’s National Police, Diby Koffi Bruno, commended INTERPOL for its regional efforts and encouraged the high-level delegates to ‘take advantage of the capacity building programme at their disposal to enhance their operational efforts to combat transnational crime’.

Funded by the Government of Canada, the Programme will equip law enforcement officials with the expertise to effectively turn back transnational crime related to border security, particularly people smuggling, through the use of INTERPOL’s global tools and services.

At the opening ceremony Canada’s Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Her Excellency Ms Chantal de Varennes, also underlined Canada’s support for INTERPOL’s regional activities.

“We know that West Africa is not safe from the scourge of human trafficking. That is why the Government of Canada has established in collaboration with INTERPOL a programme that aims to strengthen border management in West Africa and has committed to funding it to the tune of more than 1.1 million Canadian dollars,” said the Canadian Ambassador.

During the workshop, law enforcement delegates were briefed on INTERPOL’s regional presence, including the role of its Regional Bureaus and the progress of ongoing activities.

Mr Dale Sheehan, Director of INTERPOL’s Capacity Building and Training Directorate, reaffirmed INTERPOL’s commitment to enhancing regional capacity through innovative training:

“As a result of its strategic location, the West African region is in a unique position to seize the opportunity to lead trans-border security initiatives for the entire continent. It was in recognition of this potential that INTERPOL spearheaded the Capacity Building Programme to Strengthen Border Management with the aim of assisting law enforcement officials to counter criminal activity related to border security,” said Mr Sheehan.

Delegates at the workshop shared information on emerging regional threats related to border security, assessed current needs for training and operational support and discussed effective strategies for implementing the programme. Delegates also committed to advancing the programme’s objectives in their respective countries.