In March 2014, a new EU-funded project was launched to assist the Republic of Belarus and Ukraine to enhance their common border security. The overall aim of the project titled, “Strengthening Surveillance and Bilateral Coordination Capacity along the Common Border between Belarus and Ukraine (SURCAP Phase II),” is to minimize illicit transnational activity such as smuggling and irregular migration through improved law enforcement cooperation.
In Soviet times, the border between Belarus and Ukraine was an administrative boundary and is thus lacking typical border infrastructure. ‘Blue’ border sections (rivers and lakes) constitute over one-fifth of the whole length of the frontier. Dense forests also make it difficult to control the border.
Within the SURCAP Phase II project, funded by the EU and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), specialized equipment will be procured for the border agencies of Belarus and Ukraine. Regional trainings on integrated border management techniques and best practices, as well as study visits of Belarusian and Ukrainian border guards to the EU, will be conducted.
The first meeting of the Steering Committee of SURCAP Phase II will take place at the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine on 24 April 2014. Officials of the border agencies of Belarus and Ukraine and the EU, together with IOM and ICMPD representatives, will meet to discuss a joint vision and plan for strengthening the border surveillance and bilateral coordination capacity between Belarus and Ukraine.
The regional project titled, “Strengthening Surveillance and Bilateral Coordination Capacity along the Common Border between Belarus and Ukraine (SURCAP Phase II)”, is to be carried out over 30 months (2014–2016). It is funded by the European Union and implemented by IOM with the support of ICMPD. The project’s budget for the two countries is EUR 5.3 million.