Workshops on interagency cooperation at border crossing points were held in Astana (2-4 October) and Ashgabat (7-9 November) and follow successful implementation of a similar event in Bishkek in July 2017. The events brought together representatives from the border and customs services of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as well as BOMCA experts from the Latvian State Border Guard. The purpose of the workshops was to promote the Integrated Border Management concept, where interagency cooperation among all relevant authorities and agencies involved in border security and customs is one of the three pillars. The workshops also provided a good opportunity to share experiences in this area and learn about solutions based on the Latvian experience. During the workshops, draft agreements for interagency cooperation and information exchange within and between the border agencies were elaborated based on international best practices.

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BOMCA has introduced a distance learning tool in Kyrgyzstan to be used in the education and retraining of border guards. On 3 November, at the European Union Delegation in Kyrgyzstan, the system was officially handed over and its capabilities and advantages presented to the State Border Service and Military Armed Forces Institute. A test connection between Kyrgyzstan and Latvia was made and the first pilot lecture was conducted by Border Guard College in Rezekne, Latvia.

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A bilateral practical workshop on detection of illegal movement of goods and vehicles was held between 24-28 October in Hudzhand, Tajikistan for representatives of the customs and border agencies of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In total, 20 officers from both countries took part in the training.

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Between 17 and 20 October, a study visit to Latvia was organized for the border guard, customs, and phytosanitary and veterinary services of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It formed the final stage of the national workshops on HR and finance planning which have been conducted in all five Central Asian countries during the course of 2016 and 2017. Based on the training needs revealed during the national workshops, 12 national partners total took part in the visit and expanded their knowledge and skills in the area of proper HR management and financial planning and control.

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A regional workshop on advancing cross-border procedures through one-stop customs inspection was held in Bishkek between 10-12 October, gathering customs, border agencies and phytosanitary agencies from Central Asian countries, with the main goal being to increase their awareness of the potential of one-stop shops to create new possibilities for economic growth and people mobility across borders.

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On 4 October, Vienna hosted the 13th Central Asia Border Security Initiative Conference (CABSI), gathering over 100 international participants to discuss issues relating to transnational organised crime, migration challenges and responses, and trade facilitation issues.

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Between 13-15 September a regional workshop on the Revised Kyoto Convention was conducted in Almaty, gathering together key national partners from the customs agencies of Central Asian countries. The workshop ended the series of working meetings conducted in each country where discussions on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and its implementation aspects were conducted, and the compatibility of the countries’ national legislation assessed and reviewed.

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On 13 September in Bishkek a workshop on standards of assistance to vulnerable migrants was conducted. The event served as a forum for governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to exchange experience and explore the international standards for enhancing the quality and access to basic services for vulnerable migrants, especially victims of trafficking. Over the course of the three-day workshop, government representatives (from the Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs, the Border Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the State Migration Service and other relevant ministries), and BOMCA, IOM and UNHCR experts, as well as representatives from NGOs and civil society partners involved in combating trafficking in persons in Kyrgyzstan, exchanged experiences, shared findings and discussed ways to respond to the needs of victims of trafficking  (VoTs) and migrants in accordance with international standards and best practices.

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