On July 24th-25th, in Borovoe, Kazakhstan, the 3rd Conference for Regional Cooperation was hosted on the topic of Border Security in Central Asia (Issyk-Kul Initiative), which gathered over fifty participants to discuss modern challenges in border security and ways to address them. Participants at the event included heads and senior officials from border agencies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran, as well as international bodies and programmes working in the field of border security such as BOMNAF, FRONTEX and CIS Border Troops Commanders Council.

Since 2011, under the framework of the Issyk-Kul Initiative, Central Asian border agencies come together regularly in a regional forum for cooperation and information exchange in the field of border security in Central Asia. 

The 3rd conference was focused particularly on ways to address cross-border challenges in Central Asia. The key topics on the agenda for thematic panel discussions were: general challenges in the field of border management in Central Asia and Afghanistan; the gradual introduction of the integrated border management approach and its advantages of more effective border management; and the needs and priorities for capacity building in border agencies of Central Asia and Afghanistan.

During the panel discussions, the delegates discussed current threats affecting border security in Central Asia and exchanged views on modern technologies useful for the strengthening of the agencies’ capabilities. Additional attention was paid to the need for close cooperation and exchange of information among stakeholders.

The participants agreed upon further strengthening of inter-state and inter-agency cooperation in order to increase joint efforts; further strengthening of cooperation in the exchange of operative information and good  practices; continuing joint efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking in the context of measures taken by the world community, including by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and international organisations; and promoting joint risk analysis and threat assessment, including the exchange of preliminary information in order to better predict potential threats, identify in a timely manner, track and inhibit escalation, and communicate the information directly to stakeholders.

Final conclusions of the conference will be used to formulate the areas of action of the BOMCA programme after 2019 and to determine of the prospects for cooperation in the security sector in the context of the development of the new European Union-Central Asia Cooperation Strategy.