Integrated Border Management (IBM) Lebanon is a six-year, EU-funded project to the tune of EUR 14 million, which is being implemented by the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). IBM Lebanon works with five Lebanese beneficiary security agencies to "establish effective, efficient and coordinated border management." The project was launched in October 2012 and ends December 2018. It was divided into two three-year phases. The second phase began in January 2016.

What is Integrated Border Management?

Integrated Border Management (IBM) in European Commission (EC) External Cooperation can be defined as ”… national and international coordination and cooperation among all the relevant authorities and agencies involved in border security and trade facilitation to establish effective, efficient and coordinated border management...”.  Cooperation and coordination takes place on 3 levels, also called the three IBM pillars – Intra-agency (within a ministry or agency), Inter-agency (between different ministries or border agencies) and International (with other countries and international organisations). At the heart of the IBM concept is the realisation that irrespective of national systems and levels of development, results of individual border agencies generally improve when the level of cooperation is enhanced. Border management becomes smoother and more efficient, which can lead to shorter waiting periods at border crossing points (BCP). At the same time cooperation can contribute to increased detection rates of illicit cross-border activities. The Guidelines have been developed for border management practitioners worldwide and through practical examples and recommendations, this document serves as a concrete, operational tool for project implementation as well as support to countries and other actors preparing and implementing projects related to IBM. The Guidelines comprehensively cover all coordination and cooperation aspects within border management, irrespective of location. Recommendations included are based on good practices of European Union (EU) member states and non-EU countries as well as expert advice on how to establish a functional IBM system.

Developing National Capability for Integrated Border Management in Lebanon (Phase I)  

This first phase of IBM Lebanon aimed to provide support to the Lebanese authorities in securing and controlling borders, increasing the security of its citizens, promoting regional stability and facilitating trade, development and human contact.

The project lent its support through four operational modules. The first module supported the implementation of a National IBM Strategy by developing an IBM Action Plan. The second module developed standard operating procedures at BCP, provided equipment and links to databases. Module number three supported training systems by updating curricula and training materials and by training trainers from among national staff. The fourth module aimed to increase public awareness concerning border management through outreach activities and by publishing information on the roles of border agencies, and on the rights and obligations of travellers and traders when crossing international borders.

Enhanced Capability for Integrated Border Management in Lebanon (Phase II)

The second and current phase of IBM Lebanon strives to support strengthening the resilience of Lebanon’s security institutions to withstand internal and external pressures and shocks, and to reinforce the role they can play as drivers of stability and national cohesion.

There will be continued and intensified support to the implementation of the jointly developed and agreed IBM Strategy. The first module will further develop action planning and coordination at strategic and operational levels. Module two will assist border management co-ordination capabilities by supporting dedicated operation rooms, risk analysis, early warning, pre-arrival and analysis systems. The third module concerns development of agency systems for on-going enhancement of operational capacity, through support to training systems, infrastructure and equipment. Module four will support systems for the establishment and maintenance of professional standards in border management. The final module focuses on implementation of a ‘state-of-the-art’ border management IT system, through the supply of telecommunications equipment, software and hardware, mobilisation of technical expertise and implementation of standard operating procedures.

The IBM Lebanon programme also includes 2 components funded and supported respectively by the governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Netherlands’ Assistance to Lebanese Border Agencies (IBM Lebanon -Phase II) aims to consolidate but also significantly further enhance capabilities of the Lebanese border agencies. Working with all the agencies, primary focus however is on the Lebanese Armed Forces.   Implementation is managed through cooperation with Netherlands’ state agencies such as the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and National Police, as well as commercial sector partners and ICMPD in-house expertise. Support includes training delivery (from foundation to expert levels), development of institutional training capacities, organisational and regulatory improvements, enhanced coordination with national and international actors, and donations of technical equipment and databases. All activities are focused on sustainable development with beneficiary agencies progressively assuming independent ownership.

Swiss Support to the project Enhanced Capability for Integrated Border Management in Lebanon (IBM Lebanon -  Phase II) aims at supporting the General Security in building its capacities in areas of key relevance to the sound management of incoming, residing and exiting migrants and refugees, in line with international standards and human rights principles. The thematic areas covered by the component—migration, human rights, gender-based issues, crisis management, return and international cooperation—are important elements of the comprehensive approach of the IBM Lebanon programme, thereby greatly increasing complementary and the added value of the Swiss funded contribution. The project is being implemented by ICMPD, with in-house and external expert support, through five sets of activities encompassing all thematic areas, namely 1) delivery of training workshops, providing theoretical foundation, 2) organisation of study visits to European States aimed at facilitating knowledge exchange, 3) delivery of practice-oriented technical seminars, preparing for the 4) formulation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on the management of arrival, stay and exit of migrants and refugees, 5) provision of small-scale infrastructure to relevant General Security entities working at BCPs. The implementation of this component, building on the ICMPD expert network and current relations with other international and Lebanese entities working on IBM and the thematic areas concerned, represents a valuable opportunity to strengthen existing relations and develop new partnerships.

The Lebanese beneficiaries and partners

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): LAF is assigned the task of surveillance and control of land borders, BCP, seaports and airports by Council of Ministers Decree, through the deployment of the land border regiments and the Lebanese Navy. LAF leads the border control committee, the official body made up of Lebanese and international members, that coordinates border management activity and development.

Internal Security Force (ISF): As the national police force ISF fall under the purview of the Ministry of Interior; it contributes to the task of surveillance of land, air and sea borders and the monitoring of foreigners on Lebanese soil. ISF also takes the lead in criminal investigation and prosecution of cross border offences.

Directorate General for the Security General (DGSG): Responsible for managing entry and exit of individuals to and from Lebanon through the border crossing points and for controlling illegal immigration. It issues visas, monitors foreigners residing, entering or leaving the country and provides travel documents for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Lebanese Customs Administration (LCA): As part of the Ministry of Finance but acting as an independent body, LCA has two departments a) the Customs Office with civilian staff responsible for clearing people and goods (luggage, cargo, mail) and the collection of customs duties, excise taxes and value added tax b) the uniformed Customs Brigade which is responsible for customs control over land, sea and air borders.

Lebanese Civil Defence (LCD): A public emergency, medical and rescue service that carries out patient transportation, search and rescue activities, fire-fighting response, etc. It is funded and administered by the Ministry of Interior. LCD works in conjunction with the Lebanese Red Cross along with other pre-hospital service organisations in the country. LCD has a vital role to play working with the security agencies to ensure that borders and BCP are made as safe as possible.

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)

ICMPD was established in 1993 and has 15 member states. It was founded to carry out research, projects and activities on migration-related issues and to provide policy recommendations to the governmental agencies of states, as well as to external governmental and intergovernmental agencies. ICMPD has global operations with headquarters in Vienna, a mission in Brussels and representatives in Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East and South America. ICMPD cooperates with governments, international organisations, research institutes and members of civil society in developing policies in migration-related areas, as well organising training, transferring know-how and project management. ICMPD is an organisation that deals with the global phenomenon of migration and applies the principles of partnership on an equal footing with a forward-looking orientation and a balancing of interests. ICMPD has a very strong track record of project management and delivery and has been involved in EU-funded IBM projects right from the very early days of the concept. ICMPD were the producers of the EU-supported Guidelines for IBM in EC External Cooperation which is regarded as the international standard and which will be used as the key reference work in this project.