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Webinar – A View to a Border: 3. The role of border communities and border security and management strategies

About This Webinar

The role of border communities and border security and management strategies in the context of cross border cooperation and information sharing to counter terrorism and related transnational organized crime.

The role of border security and management (BSM) strategies and border communities has emerged as a significant priority in Africa. The rise of violent non-state actors, terrorist organizations, and transnational organized crime groups involved in the illicit trafficking of weapons, drugs, and human beings, especially in border regions, poses a serious threat to the stability and development and highlights the imperative of enhancing border management in the region. A new approach is needed to secure the strengthening of border management and human security in border regions based on the “good practices” in the area of BSM in the context of counterterrorism. In parallel with building the capacities of border agencies and increasing the physical presence of the State in border areas, improved interaction with local populations is required to better articulate them to legitimate law and order efforts, as well as to protect and promote the informal cross-border trade that is often critical to their livelihoods and food security in the region.

Adoption of national border security and management (BSM) strategies support African countries to move toward a better and more sustainable balance between open but secure borders by preventing security threats while facilitating vital cross-border trade and licit movements. In 2013, the African Union (AU) drafted a distinctive continental strategy for improving border management to serve as a guideline for individual countries. The three pillars of the AU strategy are intra-agency and international cooperation, capacity development, and involving border communities in border management. However, with the exception of Senegal, West African states have not yet moved toward a common approach at either national or sub-regional level to adopt holistic BSM strategies. Implementing BSM strategies and national action plans (NAPs) will increase ownership among communities and their overall effectiveness ensuring that a cohesive linkage through collaboration among all stakeholders enhances cross-border cooperation and denies space to extremists and undermines their violent ideology.

Community involvement in border management is understood as particularly important in West Africa at the present time to ensure that security responses do not compromise human rights or inhibit unduly the free movement of goods and people. Community-based policing should form the basis for an intelligence-led interdiction approach to complement traditional border control methods. Engaging with and empowering border communities as key contributors in BSM has been recognized as a good practice to facilitate mutual trust-building with national border services, increase intelligence and information sharing through a variety of means, including public awareness to enhance communication and cooperation among neighboring border services, and strengthen cross-border coordination among relevant law enforcement agencies (LEA) to effectively prevent radicalization and violent extremism, and combat terrorism and related transnational organized crime, as well as the threat of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs).

II. Case Study: The Accra Initiative: Operations Koudanlgou II & III

The Accra Initiative was established in 2017 to prevent spillover of terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organized crime and violent extremism in member countries’ border areas through enhanced cross-border cooperation and information sharing. Member States of this initiative aim to improve intelligence sharing, strengthen border controls and regain the trust of local populations. The Accra Initiative is anchored on three pillars: information and intelligence sharing; training of security and intelligence personnel; and conducting joint cross-border military operations to sustain border security.

Operation Koudanlgou II was developed in November 2018 under the Accra Initiative. Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana launched this joint security operation in the southern and western areas of Burkina Faso in which more than 850 security elements from the three countries were involved to crackdown transnational crimes including terrorism, smuggling, and drug trafficking. The operation led to 150 arrests, 11 confiscated vehicles and seized arms, ammunition, cannabis and liquor. Security forces also offered health services to local populations, painted a school and repaired a road.

In November 2019 around 170 suspected terrorists and criminals were arrested near the Togo-Ghana border. The arrests fall under the joint security operation between Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Togo, code-named Koudanlgou III.

This third webinar aims to address the role of border communities and border security and management strategies in the context of cross-border cooperation and information sharing to counter terrorism and related transnational organized crime. The first session of the event will be focused on the presentation of a case study on Operations Koudanlgou II & III within the framework of the Accra Initiative, followed by an interactive dialogue among experts from UNOCT-UNCCT, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Stimson Center, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Ghana, that will share their insights and first-hand experiences on the role of border communities and border security and management strategies as critical tools to successfully tackle the terror-crime nexus. During the virtual discussion, the audience will have the opportunity to raise questions, provide comments and inputs that will be addressed by the experts.


Opening Remarks
- Mr. Rocco Messina, Head, UNCCT-Border Security and Management Unit
- Dr. Emmanuel Wekem Kotia, Brigadier General of the Ghana Armed Forces and Chief Executive of the Ghana Boundary Commission

Keynote Speakers
- Dr. Amado Philip de Andres, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa
- Mr. Brian Finlay, President and CEO, the Stimson Center

Session 1: Case Study: The Accra Initiative: Operations Koudanlgou II & III
- Mr. Benedict Dere, Technical Director and Liaison Officer for the Accra Initiative, Ministry of National Security, Ghana

Session 2: Interactive Dialogue
- Dr. Amado Philip de Andres, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa
- Mr. Brian Finley, President and CEO, the Stimson Center
- Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali, Executive Director of the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa
- Ms. Sophie Hoffmann, Head of the Border Security and Immigration Unit, IOM Niger
- Dr. Esther Zubiri, UNOCT-UNCCT Senior Expert

Who can view: Everyone
Webinar Price: Free
Featured Presenters
Webinar hosting presenter
Editor Border Security Report / World Security Report
Editor of Border Security Report and Director of the World Border Security Congress
Webinar hosting presenter
Senior Expert, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism - United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNOCT-UNCCT)
Esther Zubiri joined the State Attorney-General’s Office of Spain in 1998, where she has developed her professional career over twenty-two years as a State Attorney specialized in counter terrorism. She currently works as a senior expert in the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) within the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT). Formerly, she served as the Chief of Rule of Law and Human Rights at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan. In 2012, she was appointed as the Agent of the Kingdom of Spain to the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe, representing Spain at the Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER). From 2014 to 2019, she worked as a Senior Legal Specialist at Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States. As State Attorney Chief, she worked at the National Court, the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country, the Central Economic-Administrative Court, the State Tax Administration Agency, and the Ministries of Justice and Interior, where she led the prosecution on several high-profile terrorist cases. She served as a counselor at the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations and the Embassy of Spain in the United States of America. She holds a JD and a Master’s Degree in Law from the Comillas Pontifical University of Madrid (ICADE). She has been awarded with the Merit Cross of the Spanish National Police and the Silver Cross of the Spanish Civil Guard.
Webinar hosting presenter
Head Border Security and Management Unit, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT)
Rocco Messina is currently heading the Border Security and Management Unit at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) within the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). In this tenure, he is managing a multi-year global programme mandated to support the inclusion of the counter-terrorism elements in the UN Member States' border security strategies through technical assistance and capacity-building activities.

Prior to this appointment, from 2011 to 2017, Mr. Messina served as Head of the Border Management Section at the United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) implementing a capacity-building portfolio to design a comprehensive on Haitian national border national policy. His leadership and matter expertise were instrumental to the creation of the Haitian Technical Border Commission, the Customs Police, as well as a specialized branch of the Haitian National Police in charge of securing the land borders. Mr. Messina started his professional career in 1990 after a two-year military police academy training with the Counter-terrorism branch of the Italian Guardia di Finanza (Italian Military Police).

During his 25-year long career, he was deployed to several field missions, at both national and international levels, focusing mainly on counter-terrorism and border security matters. He was bestowed with several national and international medals and awards for the successful completion of his high-risk duties. Between September 2006 and May 2007, Mr. Messina was deployed in Herat Afghanistan with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Mission as Training Programme Officer, where he developed a training programme for the Afghan Border Police.

Mr.Messina holds a master’s degree in literature and a degree in international law and he speaks fluently English, Spanish and French.
Webinar hosting presenter
Head of the Border Security and Immigration Unit, IOM Niger
Holder of a degree in Political Sciences from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Sophie Hoffmann is working in the field of international development cooperation since 2013.
She started working with the French General Secretariat for European Affairs (SGAE) in the Free Movement of Persons Unit of the Justice and Home Affairs Department, whose role is to coordinate the international handling of European issues on security, visas, immigration and border management under the authority of the French Prime Minister.
She has spent 7 years working with international cooperation agencies and NGOs (GIZ, Handicap International) as operations and program coordinator in Central Africa and Sahel Region, notably in the DRC and Chad, and has integrated the IOM in Niger in November 2018.
Along with the other 24 IOM State Members in West Africa, IOM Niger through its Immigration and Border Management (IBM) unit has been active since 2015 and has been implementing 9 border management projects in Niger. The IBM division of IOM has the institutional responsibility for overseeing activities related to border management solutions and immigration and visa support services. The Division provides assistance to governments in developing, testing and implementing new approaches to address particular migration processing challenges, including the use of biometrics and automated processing solutions. More specifically in Niger, the IBM unit, with its broader scope of activities, is promoting humanitarian border management, integrated border management, the deployment of the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) across the sub-region countries, community engagement, and technical and material capacity building.
Webinar hosting presenter
Executive Director, Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa
Dr. Kamal-Deen Ali (Capt Navy Rtd) is the Executive Director of the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa. He was previously the Director of Legal Affairs of the Ghana Navy and the Director of Research of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College. He has since 2003 been engaged in ocean governance capacity building and maritime security policy shaping at the national, regional and global levels. He has participated in several global initiatives, regularly providing expert input/support to the activities of international partners in the sub-region, including the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Abidjan Convention Secretariat and the UN Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA). He served as a technical expert to the Global High-Panel on Sustainable Ocean Economy and co-authored Blue Paper 16 (2020) – “Transnational Organized Crime in the Fisheries Sector,” which is part of a series of high level policy papers commissioned by the Panel.
He holds a PhD in Law, Master of Laws and Master of Arts in International Relations. He is a Fellow of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security and an Associate of both the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy, United Kingdom, and the Africa Security Sector Network (ASSN). He has published extensively and his book “Maritime Security Cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea: Prospects and Challenges" (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff 2015) is rated as a cutting-edge contribution to knowledge and research in maritime studies.
Webinar hosting presenter
Brigadier General of the Ghana Armed Forces
Dr Emmanuel Wekem Kotia is a Brigadier General of the Ghana Armed Forces. He has served honourably with the military colours for over 33 years. He has distinguished himself as an international analyst and expert in Defence and Security over the years. He is an astute lecturer and speaker at various national and international forums on topics related international security; international politics and defence studies. General Kotia is currently the National Coordinator (Chief Executive Officer) of the Ghana Boundary Commission. He was the immediate past Commander of the Western Sector of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2018 to 2019. His last appointment in Ghana before then was the Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Accra, Ghana. By way of academic qualifications, he holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (First Class Honors) in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Ghana, Master of Science Degree (MSc) in Global Security from the Cranfield University of the United Kingdom; and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science from the University of Ghana. He was appointed a Clinical Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Kennesaw State University, USA in 2013. He lectured a three-credit course for students on the PhD and master’s Courses in International Conflict Management on Peace and Security in Africa at the Kennesaw State University from 2013 to 2017. He was also appointed a Visiting Lecturer of University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom in 2014 where he teaches a three-credit course in peace and security for the master’s course in International Relations annually.

General Kotia was commissioned into the Ghana Armed Forces in 1986 into the Artillery Corps of the Ghana Army). Within the Ghana military he was the Commanding Officer of the 66 Artillery Regiment of the Ghana Army from 2005 to 2009. He also served as a Directing Staff/Lecturer at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College from 2009 to 2011. He was the Chief instructor of the KAIPTC from 2011 to 2016. He served as one of the longest serving instructors at the Ghana Military Academy from 1993 to 2000. He was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal by the Ghana Armed Forces in August 2001. He has served in several UN Peace Operations as a military officer, including four tours with the UN Mission in Lebanon (1987,1991,2000/2001 and 2006/2007). He was the Commanding Officer of the Ghana Battalion with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon from 2006 to 2007. Other Peace Operations he has served are: ECOMOG (Liberia, 1990), MINURSO (Western Sahara, 1994), UNTAC (Cambodia, 1992), UNAMIR (Rwanda, 1993), MONUC (DRC, 2002) and MONUSCO (DRC, 2018).

General Kotia led the process of acquiring Institutional and Programme Accreditation for running academic courses at the Ghana Armed Force Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) and KAIPTC. He was subsequently the lead consultant that developed the KAIPTC Master of Arts degree courses in Conflict, Peace and Security; and Gender, Peace and Security; and the PhD course in International Conflict Management. He taught two courses on the KAIPTC academic programmes namely: Gender, War and Conflict in Africa and National Security Framework from 2012 to 2018. He also lectured and supervised dissertations for the PhD course at KAIPTC in International Conflict Management. He has supervised and examined over 30 dissertations for the various masters’ courses at KAIPTC. He led the development of the Master of Science course in Defence and International Politics for the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) in 2014. He teaches the course on Theories and Analysis of Defence; and Peace Operations in Contemporary Perspectives at the GAFCSC Master of Science course. He has supervised and examined over 60 MSc dissertations in Defence and International Politics at GAFCSC. He is currently an Adjunct lecturer for a Masters course in Peace, Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). He was appointed as the sole consultant to develop the PhD course in International Security and Intelligence for UPSA in 2020. Outside the military he served as a Consultant for the Constitution Review Commission of Ghana; and he also served as a member of experts for the drafting of the National Peace Council Bill of Ghana (Act 818). He served as a consultant and the sole resource expert for the establishment of the Ghana Police Command and Staff College in 2014. He chaired a Technical Working Groups for developing of a National Security Strategy for Ghana (2018 to 2020); and the National Framework for the Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Ghana (2019). He served as a member of the Governing Board of the Ghana Police Command and Staff College; a member of the Advisory Board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ghana from 2017 to 2019; and a member of the Board of Directors of E-crime Bureau, Ghana from 2015 to 2019.

General Kotia has published a number of papers/articles to his credit. They include: the Unwinding of UN Peace Operations in Africa; the Principle and Reality of Legislative Oversight in Defence Matters in Liberal Democracies; Understanding the Geo-Politics of the War in Southern Lebanon; the Global Effects of the 33-day War in Lebanon; Gender and Conflicts in Africa: Gains and Losses; Liberia: History of the Origins of War and Profile of Actors; Military Professionalism in Peacekeeping; An Evolving Security Dilemma: Adopting a Comprehensive Approach to the Changing Dynamics of Terrorism in Africa; and Emerging Security Issues in Africa. He was the main reviewer of the book on Indigenous African Warfare authored by Colonel Festus Aboagye (retired). He has authored a book titled: Ghana Armed Forces in Lebanon and Liberia Peace Operations. The book was published by Lexington Books, USA in May 2015. The book has been adopted as a textbook by the University of Bedfordshire and GAFCSC for the running of the post graduate courses in International Relations; and Defence and International Politics respectively. He is a visiting lecturer/facilitator to several institutions and universities within and outside Ghana notably including: Ghana Police Command and Staff College; University of Professional Studies, Ghana; University of Bedfordshire, UK; Kennesaw State University, USA; and the United States Military Academy at West Point. His areas of research interest are in Defence and International/National Security; International Politics; and Gender Studies.
Webinar hosting presenter
President and CEO, Stimson Center
Brian Finlay is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Stimson Center. Under his tenure since 2016, Stimson has transformed its business model, launched pioneering new engagements across Asia, and industry-defining programming on environmental security, renewable energy, and technology. As a result, the Center has tripled in size and continues to dramatically outperform similarly-sized institutions in global rankings. Notably, Stimson today boasts the most diverse and inclusive workforce of any major Washington think tank.

Brian previously served as Vice President, Managing Director, and Senior Fellow at Stimson. Prior to joining the Center, he served as executive director of a Washington-based lobbying initiative focused on counterterrorism issues, as a researcher at the Brookings Institution, and as a program officer at the Century Foundation. Prior to emigrating to the United States from his native Canada, Brian served with the Public Health Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He Chairs the Board of Directors of iMMAP, an information management and data analytics organization focused on improving humanitarian relief and development coordination. Brian was an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, and today sits on the Editorial Board of Global Security, a journal of health, science and policy published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis. With expertise in nonproliferation, transnational crime, counter-trafficking, and supply chain security, Brian holds an M.A. from the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, a graduate diploma from the School of Advanced International Studies, the Johns Hopkins University and an honors B.A. from Western University in Canada.
Webinar hosting presenter
Technical Director and Liaison Officer for the Accra Initiative, Ministry of National Security, Ghana
Webinar hosting presenter
Representative, UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN)
Dr. de Andrés brings to his new assignment extensive relevant substantive and managerial experience in developing, negotiating, implementing and monitoring UNODC technical assistance programmes, as well as in building and maintaining close partnerships with all relevant stakeholders in government, the wider UN, private sector and civil society organizations.

Prior to his new assignment, Dr. de Andrés served as Representative of the UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa (ROEA). In that capacity, he had successfully negotiated and implemented substantial programmes to help advance UNODC’s work in the region and has effectively positioned UNODC in the context of the UN Development System Reform.

Dr. de Andrés joined UNODC in 2004 as the Programme Manager in Dakar in the Regional Office for West and Central Africa in Senegal (ROSEN).

Since then, he has held various positions within UNODC, including: Representative of the Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (ROPAN); Team Leader of the Latin America and the Caribbean Team; and Drug Control and Crime Prevention Officer with the same team at UNODC headquarters in Vienna.

Before joining UNODC, Dr. de Andrés worked for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the World Bank, the European Commission and Samsung.

Amado holds a Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Michigan, USA and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the College of Europe, Belgium. He is fluent in English, French and Spanish and has a knowledge of Portuguese.
Webinar hosting presenter
Senior Regional Thematic Specialist, Immigration and Border Management (IBM), International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Current responsibilities:
IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Regional thematic resource person including monitoring and analysing regional thematic trends; engaging with governments and donors in the region to ensure support in the thematic area in line with IOM`s global approaches and policies; monitoring developments of projects in the thematic areas; supporting regional thematic project development, reviewing and endorsing projects related to the thematic area of expertise in the West and Central Africa region.
Experience & expertise:
11 years in the field of migration and border management in Africa, Asia, Middle East and the Pacific working on Migration governance and capacity building in migration and border management (principally border assessments, training curriculum development and training delivery, immigration SOP, document examination and verification processes, community engagement).
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