The report contains recommendations that address the most urgent bilateral and sub-regional border issues as well as the essential areas of cross-border concerns.
In May 2003, the countries of South Eastern Europe agreed upon the Common Platform on Border Security and Management proposed at the Ohrid Conference by the four Partner Organisations, i.e. NATO, EU, OSCE and the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. In the Way Forward Document (WFD), which was also discussed and endorsed at Ohrid, the countries concerned have respectively committed themselves in jointly achieving actionoriented short-term objectives in line with the Integrated Border Management Concept of the European Union. The overall aim of the Ohrid Process is to ensure more stability within the whole region by improving the border management related capacities of the states involved in the process.
In this framework, the OSCE’s contribution has been defined in terms of civilian aspects of training and advice to border police, assistance to and facilitation of institution building and promotion of regional cooperation. The Regional Border Police Joint Training Programme set out in the WFD is presented as the key operational tool in this regard. The result of the Ohrid Conference was distributed to all delegations on 27 May 2003.
The OSCE input at the Ohrid Conference relating to the proposed Regional Border Police Joint Training Programme was largely based on a concept developed by the Police Development Unit of the OSCE Spillover Monitor Mission, at the request of the Chairmanship. This concept (CiO/GAL/75/03) proposed to develop and strengthen capacity in border policing in the region, to enhance and harmonise operational standards and techniques and to facilitate the exchange of information through support and training. At the request of the Chair, this concept was discussed extensively in several formal and informal meetings. Delegations generally expressed their commitment to work towards facilitating its implementation. Delegations further stressed the importance of the local ownership component and the regional co-operation dimension contained in the proposal.
In the subsequent PrepCom meeting of 15 July the Chair indicated, inter alia, that the programme proposal was intended as an outline of the possible contribution by OSCE. As was suggested in the programme proposal, to be effective it would be important to first conduct an in-depth needs assessment in the countries which have indicated an interest to participate in the programme. In the meeting of the Permanent Council of 17 July 2003 it was agreed to go ahead with such a technical assessment mission. This report outlines the main findings of the assessment mission.