With the adoption of the Border Security and Management Concept (BSMC) at the 2005 Ministerial Council in Ljubljana, the participating States agreed on a political framework for their co-operation to promote open and secure borders. The Concept provides objectives and principles for this co-operation and direction for OSCE activities in this area.
Within the framework created by the Border Security and Management Concept, the OSCE Secretariat and field operations provide support to participating States in the field of border security and management through various forms of assistance.
Upon the request of a participating State, the OSCE may conduct a border security and management assessment, the recommendations of which, if endorsed by the concerned authorities, lead to the implementation of concrete OSCE initiatives. Such initiatives may, for example, include support in the drafting of national border strategies, specific theoretical and practical training of border personnel (including border guards and customs), or on the spot monitoring, patrolling and mentoring exercises.
Through its delivery of concrete border related assistance, the Borders Team promotes common border management standards of the highest possible level across the OSCE area.
In 2009, the OSCE established a Border Management Staff College (BMSC) in Dushanbe/Tajikistan, which is to serve as a single point of knowledge delivery for international standards and best practices concerning all aspects of border management. Its main purpose is to enhance the knowledge of present and future senior managers of the border security and management agencies of the OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation (such as Afghanistan), and to promote greater co-operation and exchange of information among them.
The underlying principle behind activities related to the promotion and facilitation of inter-agency, bilateral and multilateral co-operation is the recognition of the need for co-operation among participating States in the field of border security and management. Such co-operation is crucial in addressing threats to international security, such as trafficking of illicit drugs, terrorism and organized crime.
The OSCE promotes such co-operation through activities that bring together representatives of border agencies with the aim of fostering a dialogue and exchanging information, lessons learned as well as best practices in the field. The OSCE's involvement in the Ohrid Border Process (OBP) is an example. From 2003 to 2007, the OBP enabled participating States in South-Eastern Europe to develop a coherent and concerted approach to border security and management in the region and led to concrete cross border initiatives.
The OSCE Border Security and Management National Focal Point Network, created in 2006, was also established to promote such co-operation among participating States. Through its maintenance of the Network, including the regular dissemination of a newsletter, the recently established web platform, and the organization of an annual meeting, the Borders Team facilitates the regular exchange of information among appointed National Focal Points.
The Borders Team also gathers, on an annual basis, representatives of OSCE field operations to look into the current status of border security and management activities in the field and explore methods of enhancing co-ordination.
Following the adoption of Ministerial Council Decision No. 4/07 on OSCE Engagement with Afghanistan, the Borders Team, as part of a wider Secretariat effort, developed, in 2008, and started implementing, in 2009, a series of border-related projects, meant to address challenges and threats at the borders between Afghanistan and its Central Asian neighbours. All of these project activities have been designed to involve Afghan border and customs officials in a number of joint activities with officials from the host countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan), and to provide room for border co-operation between Afghanistan and its neighbours.