On 15 September 2020, the European Union-funded Programme on Border Management in Central Asia (BOMCA) gathered more than 100 high-level stakeholders online to summarise the achievements of thematic work from the five years of the project’s 9th Phase. During the final event, BOMCA presented and disseminated project results and tools for the further strengthening of border management, migration governance, and trade facilitation measures in the Central Asian region.
Participants included the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, representatives of the Delegations of the European Union to five countries of Central Asia, border management agencies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the BOMCA Implementing Consortium, International Organisations, and EUMS Embassies
H.E. Ambassador Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia, opened the conference. He stated his appreciation for the joint work with the governments of the region, highlighting that partnering for resilience and prosperity are closely linked with efficient and integrated border management; "regional cooperation and integration offer the best tools for addressing common challenges, and is instrumental in ensuring security and stability."
The first BOMCA operations in Central Asia began in 2003 and have ever since played a positive role in promoting cooperation among border management agencies through the concept of Integrated Border Management, as well as in helping the countries of the region to approximate the border control practices to international and EU standards. The EU allocated EUR 40.1 million to BOMCA so far for the whole period spanning from 2003-2020; out of this amount, EUR 6.6 million was assigned to the 9th implementation phase (2015-2020).
ICMPD has been closely involved in the implementation of the programme from 2004 by facilitating thematic expertise. From 2015, ICMPD joined the EU Member States in the implementing consortium under the lead of the Latvian State Border Guard.
Moving ahead, the EU has confirmed its readiness to continue successful cooperation with the five BOMCA countries in the framework of the next 10th Phase of Programme, which will extend regional cooperation efforts to Afghanistan, not only to address security matters, but also to promote cross-border connectivity and trade potential. To this end, the EU has pledged EUR 21.75 million for the 2020-2025 period.
In the upcoming 10th phase, ICMPD will continue to work jointly with EU Member States as a part of the implementing consortium.
Building upon its extensive thematic expertise in the area of migration and border management, as well as experiences gained across Central Asia and Afghanistan, ICMPD is entrusted to take the lead in a new thematic component of the programme. This new area of intervention aims at the improvement of living conditions in border areas through local economic development, with a focus on human rights, gender equality and vulnerable groups. It targets local authorities, civil society and non-governmental organisations.
More information on BOMCA can be found here.
Information on the EU Strategy for Central Asia can be found here.