The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) held an international conference on "Travel documents security – past and the future" at the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Officers Club in Manara, on 12 and 13 December 2017; within the framework of the technical assistance project "Enhanced Capability For Integrated Border Management in Lebanon" (IBM Lebanon), funded by the European Union.

The conference aimed to show-case the current state-of-play, challenges, achievements and lessons learnt in the field of travel document security, and to explore the latest developments in document security, identity security, use of databases and the physical inspection of travel documents. Participants included officers from General Security (GS), (LAF), Internal Security Forces (ISF) and Lebanese Customs Administration (LCA), in addition to representatives from the Central Bank of Lebanon and private companies, as well as external partners from the UK Sovereign Base Areas – Cyprus, Jordan, Germany, Hungary, Romania, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Netherlands, Turkey, Denmark, Austria and Poland.

ICMPD’s Regional Representative to the Middle East, Ambassador Abdul Mawla El Solh, noted in his opening speech that “travel document security is worldwide an important and emerging problem and improving travel document security is a core activity for all stakeholders” and stressed that “our role is to strengthen the document security and identity security, therefore making the activity of fraudsters impossible or at least identifiable”.

Following ICMPD’s opening remarks, representatives from General Security and the European Union Delegation to Lebanon emphasised the importance of document security in the field of border management and control. They also highlighted the continuous support Lebanese authorities are receiving from external partners, mainly the EU, through the funding of projects in the next years.

Speakers from the European Border and Coast Guard (FRONTEX), Germany, United Kingdom, Romania and Lebanon, presented European and Lebanese experiences in the fields of document security and state-of-play, as well as some case studies of forgery and imposters. The presentations covered topics such as latest trends in document fraud detections, image morphing, threats and solutions to fraudulently obtained passports, the new German Passport, travel document fraud at the Romanian border, Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian travel documents, and security features in Lebanese banknotes.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to exchange experience, share knowledge and practices and to create and strengthen networks of experts in the field of documents security. It also highlighted the importance of cooperation and coordination as pillars for efficient border control and management, especially at the level of documents security, interviewing and profiling techniques, intelligence gathering and risks assessments, criminal investigations and preventing of corruption, inter-agency and international cooperation.