IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is a key partner of the Government of Kenya, particularly with the Kenya’s National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM), in addressing various migration- related challenges and concerns. Part of this partnership is the support for the three senior government officials to attend the 5th Conference on Technical Cooperation & Capacity Building for Border and Identity Management (BMIC) in Bangkok, Thailand hosted by IOM and the Asia Pacific Smart Card Association (APSCA), from 11 to 13 December 2018.
The conference attended by over 400 delegates aimed to foster identity governance through cooperation between national authorities responsible for migration management, border control, national civil registry, identity issues and their key international partner organizations. The conference brought together government agencies, international organizations and practitioners involved in border and migration management as well as the participation of the private sector in the biometric hardware and software technology to share best practices from around the world. Concurrent with the BMIC, a technology expo of latest solutions for border management and identity was also held.
The Kenya delegation was led by Mr. Reuben Muriuki Kimotho, Director of National Registration Bureau (NRB), Mr. Mwaura Abraham Munyoroku, Senior Assistant Director of Immigration Department, and Mr. Atunga Gerald Mongare, Head of Media and Communication Department of National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). IOM Kenya Senior External Relations Officer, John Njoroge, accompanied the Kenya delegation.
The conference theme was “Alternative approaches to border and identity management” and Mr. Kimotho, Director of NRB in Kenya, gave a presentation on ‘the use of identity cards as an alternative travel document in the East Africa Region’. He emphasized that, “it facilitates easy movement of persons and services across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, enhance businesses, trade, social integration among partner states across the region. Although there are some challenges such as lack of consolidated data sharing framework within the East African Region, fraudulent acquisition of identity cards and other travel documents, inadequate technical capacity, low level of public awareness and inadequate resources for rollout of National ID systems in the region. The reality of transnational and cross-border crimes such as terrorism, money-laundering, human trafficking and smuggling, credit fraud and Identity theft are areas to be addressed.”
Effective identity management improves humanitarian efforts to protect vulnerable migrants. IOM Kenya has been supporting the government initiatives on National Identity Management since 2016 through needs assessments, capacity building training and public awareness activities. IOM focuses on “the Whole of Government approach” and comprehensive strategy to support the Government of Kenya by providing technical expertise in the areas of migration governance, immigration and border management, countering human trafficking and smuggling, preventing and countering violent extremism, assisting victims of human trafficking, and supporting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.