From October 18-19, 2022, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the Border Management Programme in Central Asia – Phase 10 (BOMCA 10) held the first round of its National Project Steering Group (NSG). The meeting was aimed at reviewing the Programme’s progress for the year and to define plans for the upcoming period. For this purpose, the Programme’s leadership, representatives of the European Union and implementing partners met with the key partners, such as state agencies and international organisations.
In his opening speech, Deputy Project Coordinator, Mr. Vladimirs Zaguzovs, highlighted the importance of the NSG, not only in terms of assessing already implemented activities, but also its instrumental role in laying the foundations for further cooperation with national partners. He also praised the efficiency of established communication channels and cooperation mechanisms.
The first day was dedicated to the joint session, followed by bilateral thematic consultations with each of the key national stakeholders.
Furthermore, the BOMCA component leaders presented some brief information on the project results for 2022 and an overview of the planned activities.
They reported that out of 93 activities across four thematic areas at the regional and national levels, 32 took place in Turkmenistan. Last year, a series of workshops were carried out for the Heads of Central Asian Border Guard and Law Enforcement and Investigation agencies, including Customs Training Institutions and National Training of Trainers sessions on identification and profiling techniques. The Turkmen heads and experts of K-9 centres further learned about the best practices of the European Union on detection of arms, explosives, ammunition, drugs, precursors and a currency.
Also, BOMCA carried out technical missions on the analysis of current customs legislation applied in Central Asian (CA) countries in transit areas, and in the area of trade facilitation, provided in a form of legal and trade analysis and the planning of related measures.
In 2022, over 256 representatives of the Turkmen state agencies participated in the Programme’s tailor-made activities and the overall number of participants from border, customs, and veterinary/phytosanitary agencies and civil society from all CA countries totalled 1400 people.
It is noteworthy that the during the meeting, all parties reiterated their mutual interest in fruitful cooperation to maximise achievements and expressed their commitment to the overall priorities and their focus on the upcoming activities.
The NSG meeting in Turkmenistan finalised the series of monitoring meetings in CA region in 2022. These activities are expected to serve as a solid base for the upcoming Regional Project Steering Group in November 23.
BOMCA is the flagship and largest EU-funded Programme in the region with an overall budget of EUR 21.65 million and an implementing period of 54 months. In April 2021, the Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) entered into its tenth phase.
Since its launch in 2003, the various phases of the BOMCA Programme have focused on capacity building and institutional development, developing trade corridors and the facilitation of trade, improving border management systems and eliminating drug trafficking across the Central Asia region. Each new phase of BOMCA was designed to gradually build upon and consolidate the results achieved during the preceding phases.
BOMCA 10 is aimed at increasing security and stability in the region by fostering sustainable economic development through integrated border management. The current phase will also support cross-border cooperation and seek to improve living conditions for people residing in the border areas of Central Asia.///BOMCA, 19 October 2022