MDI Public Ltd. has done an evaluation of five border crossing point development projects (Imatra, Vaalimaa, Vainikkala, Vartius and Raja-Jooseppi) on the Finnish-Russian border under the Karelia, Kolarctic and South-East Finland -Russia CBC programmes. The evaluation examined the projects using the five standard evaluation criteria, namely: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact. In addition, the evaluation assessed the added value of the projects in terms of cross-border cooperation and border crossings and the added value to the respective programme and its area. Furthermore, cross-cutting issues of environmental sustainability and gender equality were also considered.
The Imatra BCP (Border crossing point) improvement project was motivated by the inadequate nature of the BCP’s facilities before improvement. Overall, the Imatra BCP improvement project has been successfully implemented. The interviewees considered the Imatra border-crossing point as essential, especially for the region of South Karelia and its tourism and retail businesses. The interviewees believed the investment project in the Imatra BCP significantly improved the working conditions of the officials stationed there. Additionally, the investments increased the capacity of the BCP and made the border-crossing point safer and the traffic flow much smoother than before.
Vainikkala BCP has been crucial for tourism and cultural exchange. In terms of relevance, the developments undertaken at the Vainikkala BCP were aimed at the identified challenges which emerged at the border crossing point. With the modernisation of the x-ray- and surveillance systems then the overall level of safety of the BCP and of Finland itself has improved.
The improvements at the Vaalimaa BCP aimed to directly address previously recognised problems. For example, the surveillance measures provided by the x-ray systems were considered to be out of date. The improved surveillance system and x-ray facilities not only raised the overall security of the BCP and the border itself, but also made the everyday work of the officials much easier. With the improved street lighting and information systems, the Vaalimaa BCP has become safer and easier to use. In addition, the customer experience has improved during the development project since the reconstruction of the passenger terminal has increased the customer service capacity.
The overall impression regarding the BCP development projects is positive. There was a consensus among the interviewees that the improvements at the border crossing points have also raised the general level of national security.
Final report can be found here: Evaluation of border crossing point development projects on the Finnish-Russian border under the Karelia, Kolarctic and South-East Finland -Russia CBC programmes