Representatives from four state security agencies Monday celebrated receiving European Union-funded equipment that would help develop their capabilities when controlling Lebanon’s borders. The security bodies will receive the equipment under an agreement implemented by the International Center for Migration Policy Development. The funds were provided by the EU while ICMPD managed the procurement process.
The direct beneficiaries of the program include all Lebanese state security services tasked with border control duties. Senior officers representing General Security, Customs, the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces attended the event at the Holiday Inn Dunes hotel in Verdun where they signed the acceptance certificate. The equipment will arrive in weeks. EU delegations, international organizations and diplomatic missions were also present for the signing ceremony.
“We held a meeting with all the concerned border security agencies in Lebanon and basically just asked them what they wanted,” a senior procurement official told The Daily Star. “We got answers ranging from helicopters to office desks.”
The delivery is part of the first phase of a three-year project, which started February 2013 in Beirut. The main goal is to cement the capabilities of Lebanese border agencies to better place them to secure Lebanese borders in accordance with global border management standards. The project was divided into three phases.
The first phase provided Lebanon with operational border management and support equipment valued at 917,392 euros (around $1 million) and is scheduled to end December of this year. A total of 1.4 million euros was allocated by the EU for the entire project.
The second phase includes the establishment of a training center while the third phase will focus on the Army border police. They are expected to receive specialized training and equipment.
The first phase refurbished offices and equipped them with modern equipment. Provisions ranged from basic office supplies such as desks and computers to complex forgery detection technologies.
“We noticed that Lebanon, due to its location and circumstances had to deal with huge amounts of paperwork on a daily basis” the official said. “Due to the difference in these documents we decided to enhance the capabilities of the border control agencies.”
A handheld UB microscope was among such provisions. The microscope is portable and extremely accurate and typically used to examine precious gemstones. Its uses were adapted to magnify the holographic images that are typically found in passports.
“We tried it on a Danish passport,” the official said. “We were able to read the nano inscriptions present on the hologram very clearly.”
A mobile Document Examination Laboratory was also provided, as were other forms of field equipment including drug testing units, communication gear, lights, monitors and laptops.
In addition to the material provisions, the project has also provided servicemen with training that directly resulted in enhanced institutional capacities across all organizations.