Tag Archives: border

Simplified procedures, reduced waiting times, modern infrastructure and equipment, improved security – these are only a few of the many advantages that the new border-crossing point (BCP) in Bagratashen will provide to ordinary citizens of Armenia and tourists travelling from Armenia to Georgia.
14937437_1149055855148342_5298925730231118127_nThe official opening of the newly constructed Bagratashen border checkpoint took place on 4 November 2016, attended by a variety of representatives from state border management bodies, international organisations, and members of the diplomatic corps and media. Key attendees included Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, a delegation headed by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Head of Cooperation Section of the European Union Delegation in Armenia Hoa-Binh Adjemian and Head of the Regional Representation of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the South Caucasus Sebastiaen Husson de Sampigny, UN Permanent Coordinator in Armenia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Permanent Representative in Armenia Bradley Busetto. This ceremony was organised through the EU-funded and UNDP-implemented “Modernisation of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan Border Crossing Points of Armenia” (MBBG) project. After the opening, participants toured the facility.
The main objective of this EU-supported MBBG project has been to promote free movement of people and goods across the border, ensuring border security, improving bilateral and regional cooperation, and modernising the three checkpoints at Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan. This modernisation has been in accordance with the requirements of Armenian law, international standards and principles, as well as the principles of comprehensive border administration.
14947825_1149054925148435_7735196230274237844_nAdjemian spoke about EU border-management projects: ‘The European Union funds numerous inter-related programmes at all Armenian border posts with Georgia and Iran. We support the creation of an e-governance single window, finance physical and IT infrastructure, provide training, and ensure best practice exchange. Today, we are witnessing the impact of the European Union’s cooperation efforts in Bagratashen. Armenian citizens can now cross this border point in a faster, more secure and more efficient manner. Trade has been facilitated and will support further economic and social development, thus benefiting Armenian citizens and the entire region’.
De Sampigny commented on the EIB’s involvement in infrastructure in the region: ‘EIB supports, as the EU bank, the Armenian government’s key priority of fostering the development of crossing points between Armenia and Georgia, such as Bagratashen, to comply with increased demand for smoother flows of people, vehicles and goods in terms of quality and capacity. This new, modern infrastructure will have positive implications in the standards of everyday life of citizens, will increase security, and will improve trade across the whole region’.
BCP modernisation is expected to raise the living standards of local populations in the shorter term, i.e. through jobs created by construction, and also in the longer term, i.e. jobs to permanently man the checkpoints and other cross-border economic activities. BCP modernisation will also address additional issues surrounding communication and transportation.

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Potential gains from updated BCPs are not limited to business alone. The ability to move across borders freely and easily, and to engage in small-scale cross-border trade is vitally important to local border communities, increasing livelihood opportunities and access to services. The EU and UNDP have worked together to ensure modern and streamlined procedures and trained 700 border officials in search techniques, profiling, dealing with refugees, and fighting drug trafficking.
The EU’s affiliate European Investment Bank (EIB) has extended a 30.8 million Euro loan to the Government of Armenia for financing of the project, which was complemented by a 17.6 million Euro grant from the European Union.

Integrated border management is vital for the expansion of Armenia’s economic, trade, and cultural ties with the countries of the region. It also can manage and control the flow of travellers efficiently while protecting their rights fully. The European Union is supporting Armenia to modernise northern border crossings in Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan, as well as to renovate nearby roads. Now it’s time to move to the Southern border of Armenia and modernise border crossings with Iran.
On 3 October 2016, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a project cooperation agreement to implement the “Support to Migration and Border Management in Armenia (MIBMA)” project. MIMBA is fully funded by the European Union.
ars_5217‘The EU wants Armenia to be better connected to the outside world for many reasons, not just economically or culturally, but also politically. A more prosperous Armenia, and indeed EU, is one connected to its neighbours. This project involves a non-Eastern partnership country, Iran. After investing in northern Armenia we now believe that, with current political developments, it’s important to move south, improve the border crossings in Meghri, and increase traffic between Armenia and Iran. We believe that this is a good opportunity not only for Armenia, but also for Iran’, – highlighted Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski.
Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, reinforced UNDP’s commitment to regional connectivity: ‘UNDP has worked extensively on infrastructure upgrades, on sharing knowledge and expertise in transparency, accountability and integrity, as well as in trade facilitation. Together with our partners, we will build on these results and continue supporting Armenia’s efforts in this area’.
The overall budget of the 3-year MIBMA project is approximately €4 million. UNDP, as a project partner will lead the implementation of the border management component with a price tag of EUR 880,000 to be spent before the end of 2017.

On 19 April 2016, a new EU-funded project on migration and border management was launched. The project is designed to further strengthen migration and border management in Armenia and bring it closer to European standards. More precisely, the project will increase efficiency at border crossing points, facilitate trade, and support possible visa liberalisation dialogue between the EU and Armenia, if and when agreed politically.
The new project is implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development in partnership with UNDP. The head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, attended the conference and stressed the project’s importance: ‘This project is important on different levels; the Caucasus is a historical, traditional, strategically important crossroads for entering Europe. The current migration crisis affecting Europe does not include this region; however, Armenia and other countries of the region strategically constitute a natural corridor to Europe”. He also stressed that new migration flows are likely to emerge and could affect the region due to the age of migration and the current crisis is only one of its manifestations.
13006681_1009508885769707_4255126660990089237_nThe EU Ambassador also shared why there is a direct link between migration and border management in Europe and in countries such as Armenia: “Migration is a challenge – Europe needs to find a solution, integrate migrants of different origins. Therefore, the EU is supporting projects aimed at discussing and solving migration challenges both within and beyond Europe. Of importance to Armenia, the EU is helping the Armenian and Georgian authorities modernise border crossings; we want to continue our support further south as well. Friendly and efficient border crossings are very important for Armenia, as it they should open up opportunities to profit from greater contact with neighbouring states. Unfortunately, today, Armenia is in this partial isolation due to border issues with Turkey and Azerbaijan. The EU will continue to promote friendly and accessible borders due to the importance of economic development and people-to-people contact. The EU is currently investing more than €10 million to assist Armenia in migration and other related phenomena. More than 20,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Armenia; the EU has for some time funded a project to support them. Armenia can apply for additional funding to prolong this initiative. We hope that Armenia will continue to be a migrant-friendly country, that it will promote traditional values of tolerance, and help other people coming here to feel at home’.
13006560_1009508555769740_3505740207835340316_nAram Tananyan, Head of Staff of the Armenian National Security Council, thanked the EU for its support: ‘We are here today to launch a project on border management and security. This is not the first project to concentrate on this issue; however, it is the first to include additional focus on migration and relevant legal and non-legal issues. We have discussed all the details with our partners from the EU to ensure results aligned with EU standards’.
The conference focused on Armenia’s migration and border management priorities, addressing the importance of trade corridors and presenting the project strategy and objectives. Key project outputs include assistance to the preparation of the EU-Armenia visa liberalisation dialogue, greater inter-agency cooperation through the extension of “integrated border management” into the Armenian border management system, and the development of a tender process to improve the Meghri border crossing point. ¬

László Baranyay, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), accompanied by Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, had an opportunity to get first-hand information about the construction process of Bagratashen BCP, challenges, and completion timelines on 15 October 2015.
The modernisation of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan BCPs on the Armenian-Georgian border is a top priority for the Government of Armenia. The project is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia with financial support of the EU financial institutions.
The Government of Armenia has received € 30 million in loans for the project from the EIB for infrastructure and equipment at the BCPs, which is complemented by a grant of € 12 million from the European Commission’s Neighborhood Investment Facility (NIF) and more than € 3 million from the EU-funded Eastern Partnership IBM Flagship Initiative. The main contractor for construction works is French SADE Consortium, while the construction supervision is provided by Belgian SAFEGE Consulting Engineers.
IMG_2335Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia stated: “The benefits of this project are multifaceted. Modernizing the border crossing points not only improves the services provided to the customers but also contributes to the facilitation of international trade and transit. At the same time it keeps the borders secure, and reduces smuggling and trafficking of people and goods. The regional dimension of this project is of great value as in addition to enhancing inter-agency cooperation, the concept of regional integration promotes economic development, stability and peace.”
“UNDP is pleased to support the modernization of Armenia’s borders, and this means not just highest standard infrastructure, but also strengthened systems and procedures that are also world-class”, said Bradley Busetto, UN RC/UNDP RR in Armenia. Since 2010, UNDP trained more than 700 officials from all border management agencies on search techniques, document security, human resources management, added the head of the UN in Armenia. Through the additional construction of gas and fiber-optic networks, more than 50 thousand residents of bordering communities have also been able to benefit from this infrastructure.
László Baranyay, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in the Eastern Partnership countries, stated: “Efficient handling of traffic and goods is vital for passenger transport and trade exchange between Armenia and Georgia. Today I witnessed first-hand how the EIB loan and other EU funding are helping to modernize this critical border crossing.”
It is expected that the three border crossing points in Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan will be completed and operational in 2016.