Maldives Immigration hosted the very first national level border security symposium.
The Maldives Border Security Symposium was a two-day workshop conducted from 25th to 26th October 2022, at Meerumaa Hall, Male’.
The purpose of this symposium was to bring all related border security agencies for mutual facilitation and strengthen the cooperation. This Symposium aimed to create a discussion forum among the related agencies to identify the challenges and limitations of the current situation of border security, also to share and enhance knowledge on strengthening the border security.
In the key note speech by the Chief Guest of the opening ceremony, Minister of Defense, Uz. Mariya Ahmed Didi highlighted the importance of such a symposium.
“I am happy that the stated purpose of this symposium is ‘’bringing together all border related agencies for mutual facilitation and strengthen cooperation’’ is very fitting as it reflects our current border management situation. Border security cannot be addressed in isolation, separate from the broader concept of Border Management. Security is an integral aspect of Border Management”, Minister addressed.
Stressing more on this topic, Minister said, “platforms like this Symposium bring relevant stakeholders together to discuss issues, challenges and proposals for border security. This will also facilitate the inter-agency process and build synergy within the border management effort”.
The Minister also emphasized the challenges in border management, if the agencies work isolated from each other.
“Border management in the Maldives is currently siloed among numerous regulatory and enforcement agencies operating independently. There are more than half a dozen agencies operating with varying degrees of independence, some with overlapping mandates. There is limited inter-agency coordination and information sharing among agencies are not optimal. This has led to blurred lines of responsibilities, prevents a single viewpoint of our borders, hinders assessment of border management effectiveness, and makes it difficult to formulate strategies to enhance border security”, Minister said.
In the opening remarks by the Controller General Mohamed Ahmed Hussain he underlined the importance of the symposium.
“This national border security symposium could be the ultimate solution to diversify the strength of all the law enforcement agencies, collectively with related agencies”, Controller said.
After thorough and fruitful discussions, the symposium was concluded on 26th October 2022. During the sessions, the participants identified lots of areas where the coordination can be enhanced with collaborative efforts.
In the closing remarks by the Controller General, he proposed to have annual sittings with the related agencies to enhance border security of the nation.
“I would like to assure that, we won’t be stopping here. We will now be committed to address the challenges in communication and coordination efforts, to secure our border by balancing the border security without compromising the convenience to the travelers. And as these challenges will be changing overtime, I believe this symposium shall continue annually. Next year, we shall see what improvements this year’s symposium brought, and what are the new challenges we must address by the time we conduct the next border security symposium. And as this will be a combined effort, I would like to open the opportunity to chair the next symposium by a different border agency. And that would hugely benefit the cause of this symposium”, he said.
Controller General assured that the response will be a team effort to strengthen the border security of the Maldives as guided by His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on numerous occasions. Controller General also stressed on establishing appropriate mechanisms to enhance cooperation and communication as a fundamental need to address the threats.
A total number of forty participants from different agencies attended the symposium which includes Maldives Immigration, Maldives National Defense Force, Maldives Police Service, Maldives Customs Service, Aviation Security Command, International Border Health, National Drug Agency, and Attorney General’s Office. Representatives from international organizations includes International Organization for Migration and UNODC.
The Maldives Border Security Symposium marks an important milestone in the road toward establishing inter agency coordination within the boundaries of Maldives.