EU providing assistance for border management in Central Asia

BISHKEK (TCA) — The European Union sees Central Asia as one of the most strategically important regions. Trans-regional challenges such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, organised crime and terrorism influence the EU interests. Since border security is one of the key elements for stability of the whole region, in 2003 the EU launched a special Programme, the Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA), aimed at enhancing security, fighting against illegal trafficking and facilitating trade in Central Asia. All five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — are beneficiaries of BOMCA, the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic reports.

A key objective of the Border Management Programme is to sustain institutional development in the transition to more effective and efficient methods of border management. Legal and procedural instruments and practices to manage regular and irregular migration at borders are also developed, all in compliance with international norms and standards. Finally, measures to improve the efficiency of border checks and procedures facilitating licit trade, transit of goods and countering various forms of smuggling are introduced.

Since its launch, BOMCA has passed through several phases. Each new phase is designed to gradually continue the actions implemented during the preceding phases of the Programme. During its earlier phases, the Programme focused its resources on creating a modern border management infrastructure equipped with the latest equipment. With time the horizons of BOMCA became broader and the actions of the Programme not only targeted border guards, but also other authorities working in the area of customs, migration, drug control, agriculture, and health. The Programme introduced the concept and principles of Integrated Border Management (IBM), with the view to improve cooperation and communication channels among border agencies. The programme is also tackling the issue of coordination and consolidation of actions of the Central Asian border management institutions – one of the challenges that BOMCA had to face.

The previous, now completed BOMCA phase aimed especially at strengthening institutional reform and enhancing professional skills. Throughout all the phases of BOMCA nearly 7,000 officials have participated in various training courses. They received training in a wide range of topics, including IBM, Document Security, Stolen Vehicle Identification, Intelligence Gathering and Analysis, Border Control Procedures, Supply Chain Security, International Shipment of Strategic Goods, Post-Clearance Control, Customs Valuation, Modern Technologies in Border Control, Irregular Migration and THB, Counter-terrorism & Organised Crime, Anti-corruption, and Training of Trainers.

Building on the success of the previous phases, the current 9th phase of BOMCA intends to continue interventions in the areas of institution development, management of migration flows and trade facilitation. For this phase, lasting from June 2015 until June 2018, the European Union is contributing EUR 4,503,899. The implementing organisation is the State Border Guard of Latvia. Halfway through implementation of BOMCA 9, over 900 people from all Central Asian countries have participated in more than 60 events of different scale – regional and national seminars and workshops, advisory missions and study visits to the European countries.

As Rayimberdi Duishenbiev, Major General, Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic said, “during the more than 10 years of the programme’s history, […] BOMCA diligently sought the best and most innovative ways to strengthen the capacity of its beneficiaries through technical support, institutional development and improvement of professional skills and the capacity of agencies involved in border management issues.”

Sergey Kwan

Sergey Kwan

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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