From late September to the beginning of November five missions to Central Asian countries took place, becoming the first activities in the region under the 9th phase of BOMCA. The team, consisting of representatives from the Riga Technical University, the Latvian Border Guard, the Customs Department of Lithuania and ICMPD, met with representatives of border, customs and migration agencies in each of the countries visited, namely Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
The key objective of these missions was to inform national agencies - the beneficiaries in the new phase - about the start of the Programme, assess the current situation, analyse and review data, and together with beneficiaries define gaps, needs and areas to which a greater Programme emphasis should be given.
A series of meetings were held with representatives of border, customs and migration agencies, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Ministries of Agriculture. In addition, meetings were conducted with international stakeholders present in the region, including IOM, OSCE, UNHCR, and the EXBS Programme of the US Embassy.
The assessment missions were an important milestone for the inception period of the Programme. The missions were not only an opportunity to present the complex structure of the Programme to its main beneficiaries but also to review and fine-tune certain activities with a view to actual needs and current national priorities. The results of these visits will be summarised in the report and incorporated into the work plan for the implementation period, which shall be discussed during the 1st Steering Group meeting.