On December 7, 2021, the 10th phase of the Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) was presented. During the event, the goals and objectives of the Programme were introduced, as well as plans for its implementation in all five countries of the region.
The Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) is the long-lasting leading Programme funded by the European Union. It is implemented by the consortium of border management institutions of selected EU member states and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) led by the State Border Guard for the Republic of Latvia. The tenth phase with a total budget of EUR 21.65 million is the largest initiative in the region. The Programme was launched on April 1, 2021, its implementation period is 54 months.
The EU-funded Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) very well represents the spirit of the EU-Central Asia cooperation, which aims to facilitate regional integration. The European Union considers that regional cooperation and integration offer the best tools for addressing common challenges, and is instrumental in ensuring security and stability, - noted in her welcoming speech Ms. Terhi Hakala, EU Special Representative for Central Asia.
The main objective of the BOMCA Programme is to enhance security, stability and sustainable growth in the region, while supporting cross-border cooperation and improving living conditions for people in the border areas of Central Asia. Thematically, BOMCA 10 covers four components: institutional development of border management agencies, improvement of detection capacities, trade facilitation, and improvement of cross-border cooperation. Geographically, the project covers all five countries of Central Asia. The current phase, built on the achievements and results of previous activities, will continue to work to support cross-border cooperation and improve the living conditions of people living in the border regions of Central Asia, and will also facilitate legal trade flows across borders.
Mr. Guntis Pujats, Chief of the State Border Guard of the Republic of Latvia, the BOMCA 10 Programme Leader, notes that finding the right balance between the necessary border controls for ensuring border security and helping cut crime on the one hand and facilitation of legitimate travel and trade across the borders on the other, is a great challenge. The national and international coordination and cooperation among all relevant authorities and agencies will help to reach the objective of open, but well-controlled and secure borders.
To remind, the implementation of the BOMCA Programme in Central Asia began in 2003, and since then the Programme has played a leading role in strengthening cooperation between border control authorities through the application of the concept of integrated border management, as well as in bringing border control in line with international standards and European Union standards.