Latin America and the European Union exchange experiences to improve border management and combat international crime
The EUROFRONT programme, financed by the European Union and implemented by a consortium led by FIIAPP, organised a visit to the Paso Canoas Binational Police Cooperation Centre on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Specialists from the Colombian and Ecuadorian programme delegations working at the Rumichaca border crossing were able to learn good practices implemented on the ground by the Cooperation Centre in order to be able to adapt them to their respective territories.
The Paso Canoas Binational Police Cooperation Centre was developed following the European model. It currently integrates the agencies in charge of security in Panama and Costa Rica, having established mechanisms to work together through the exchange of data and information, coordinating police mixed river and land patrols, all within a legal framework of respect for human rights and sovereignty of both states.
Panama and Costa Rica have been led the way among countries in the region in addressing border coordination and cooperation as a strategic guideline to the combating of cross-border crime, work that has been supported by the EL PAcCTO programme of the European Union, which has committed to supporting the implementation of the centre.
The visit was also attended by the Vice Ministers of Public Security of Costa Rica, Luis Carlos Castillo Fernández, and of Panama, Ivor Axel Pittí, among other political, police and customs authorities from both countries, as well as representatives of the European Union delegation, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Government and Defence of Colombia and Ecuador and FIIAPP personnel in charge of coordinating the EUROFRONT programme.
The activity, which lasted three days, made it possible to publicise the resources and operations of the Paso Canoas Binational Police Cooperation Centre. European border management processes were also explained and examples of border cooperation given, such as the case of France and Spain. Likewise, a space was provided for the exchange of knowledge of specialists on the creation and coordination of mixed land and river police patrols.
With the observation in situ of this model of border collaboration and coordination, the partner countries, Ecuador and Colombia, have a reference for the implementation of measures, of proven effectiveness, at similar border crossings such as Rumichaca.