On 18-19 February 2016 a Regional Workshop for consortia of border guarding and customs training institutions of Central Asian countries was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The representatives of the training institutions from four countries in Central Asia, namely the Training Center of the Customs Control Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Border Service Academy of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Professional Development Center of the State Border Service of Kyrgyzstan, the Center of Professional Development and Cynology of the Customs Service of Kyrgyzstan, the Higher Border College of Tajikistan, the Institute for Retraining of the Customs Service of Tajikistan, the Higher Military Customs Institute of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the Tashkent Higher Combined Arms Command School, gathered to share their experience and ideas on the capacity building activities in the educational processes. The workshop was facilitated by EU experts from the State Border Guard of Latvia and Riga Technical University.

The idea of creating a joint platform of training institutions was born in 2012 and further developed and implemented with BOMCA support. It is a voluntary association of training institutions linked to each other by joint scientific research, development of training curricula, lectures and professional training courses, and unification of education and training processes. The members of the Consortia strive for joint capacity building and institutional development activities, and unique development of training curricula and research activities. BOMCA 9 continues to support this initiative by promoting and facilitating continued exchange of professional experience in the educational process and professional development of border and customs agency personnel.

When welcoming the workshop participants, Gen. Ivars Zalitis, Deputy Head of the State Border Guard of Latvia, emphasised the need for the joint approach and continuous cooperation of the activities of all members of Central Asian training institution consortia towards the development of the unique, harmonised, and efficient training system for border guards and customs officers in the Central Asian region. 

During the workshop the delegates presented and discussed current training systems in CA countries, and learned about innovative approaches and methodological tools such as distance learning systems. By having discussions in two working groups the professionals identified existing needs, gaps and best practices in training processes, and defined topics in training curricula where the exchange of trainers and students could be organised. 

The first day of the workshop offered an opportunity to get acquainted with Latvian experience in the field of law enforcement training and professional development of border guards, and cooperation mechanisms among European professional training institutions. Also, such topics as Training-of-Trainers, protection of green borders in different physical and geographical conditions, professional development and retraining of human resources for border agencies, training of K-9 specialists, and training of border control specialists were discussed by delegates as areas for possible exchange of trainers and students.

During the second day participants also visited the premises of the Academy of the Border Service of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan, and the Department of Customs, Finance and Ecological Law of Kazakh State University and had the possibility to meet the academic staff, to see how the training processes are organised in practice. The representatives of the Central Asian training institutions positively evaluated the results of the event. “I really enjoyed the workshop and the way it was conducted. It was a great way to learn about EU best practices, share experience, and learn new innovative methods and it will be extremely useful in my work. I was very pleased to hear about the possibility of exchange of trainers that will be supported by BOMCA”, said Ms. Janyl Shamyrkanova, Head of the Department of Studies and Methodology of the Centre for Professional Development and Cynology of the Kyrgyz Customs Service. 

Based on the training topics prioritised by the participants and on the final document of the Regional Workshop, BOMCA will continue this activity by supporting an exchange of trainers among the training institutions.