Integrated Border Management (IBM)

Keywords: Security policy

Illegal migration, people smuggling and cross-border crime pose huge challenges to federal and cantonal authorities. Stopping these forms of crime requires close co-operation and co-ordination on all levels and between various stakeholders.

In February 2011, the Federal Council set up an interdepartmental working group within the federal administration and involving the cantons. The working group was tasked with formulating an integrated border management strategy for Switzerland. The Federal Council took note of the working group’s final report, Integrated Border Management Strategy (IBM Strategy, in June 2012.

The strategy consolidates all federal and cantonal activities to combat illegal migration, people smuggling and cross-border crime. At the same time, it makes provision for facilitating border-crossing for people entering Switzerland legally. To implement the strategy the Federal Council appointed a working group to formulate an action plan defining specific measures. The Integrated Border Management Action Plan was approved by the Federal Council in June 2014 and by the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors CCJPD in November 2014.

The cantons play a major part in integrated border management. Federal Councillor, Simonetta Sommaruga, and Cantonal Councillor, Hans-Jürg Käser, therefore signed a framework agreement on behalf of the Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP and the CCJPD declaring their commitment to implementing the action plan in stages between 2014 and 2017.

The action plan, with 68 targeted measures, is a guarantee that the strategy is implemented. The measures range from selected improvements to existing provisions, to new and far-reaching action in the field of national and international border management.

Implementation of the action plan is supervised by the State Secretariat for Migration SEM who reports to the Federal Council and CCPJD annually. The 2016 annual report draws a generally positive conclusion: 54% of the 68 measures have been implemented (2015: 37%) and the implementation 24% of the measures is on schedule. However, work on implementing some of the measures has not progressed as expected: progress on implementing 15% of the measures is difficult and even critical for 4% of the measures. And 3% of the measures have already proven in previous years to be impossible to implement. The reason for this appears to be the shortage of resources, which leads to the conclusion that the appropriate agencies do not consider these measures a high priority. The Federal Council and CCPJD took due note of the annual report at the end of June 2017.

The IBM strategy was developed in 2012. The corresponding action plan is valid from 2014 to 2017, whereby implementation of the final measures must be started by the end of 2017 and completed by the end of 2019. Before the SEM starts work with its partners on the follow-up strategy, the work to date will be independently evaluated. The external evaluation will critically examine the relevance, practicality, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and sustainability of the activities to date, identify areas of improvement and provide a sound basis for developing a new strategy, if necessary.

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