Declaration and Recommendations from the EU-BOMNAF Regional Trade and Cooperation Workshop in Dushanbe, 24-25 November 2015 (English Version)

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Declaration and Recommendations from the EU-BOMNAF Regional Trade and Cooperation Workshop in Dushanbe, 24-25 November 2015

 

  1. Introduction. The EU-BOMNAF Regional Trade and Cooperation Workshop was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on 24-25 November 2015.
    1. The overall aim of the event was to promote international and regional cooperation among agencies involved in border and regional issues, by assisting participants to understand the importance of cooperation and information sharing with authorities on both sides of international borders. The following issues were addressed:
  • Improvement of Regional Cooperation throughout the area;
  • Enhancement of capacity building;
  • Facilitation of Trade, Transit and Investment;
  • Planning of future regional activities.
    1. To encourage suggestions of ways to continue to develop improved trade, cooperation and relationships for the betterment of Afghanistan, its neighbours and the region, workshops were conducted which addressed these issues and also explored regional trade, transit, transport and travel issues.
    2. Delegates included senior border commanders, customs managers, government officials and experts from Tajikistan and Afghanistan. In addition, officials from UNDP, USAID, UNHCR, GIZ, Aga Khan Foundation, Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI), KfW, Asian Development Bank, OSCE, BMSC and other projects also attended the event.

 

  1. The plenary generally agreed the need for strategies which promote regional cooperation and support the development of effective trade facilitation across regional borders:
    1. Program coordination encompasses four cross cutting themes: Building political will; Implementing effective anti-corruption strategies; Fostering effective inter-agency cooperation, including knowledge sharing, domestically and internationally; and Donor coordination.
    2. Training is key but it is more effective when part of a strategy with commonly agreed objectives and domestic delivery capacity, and it is important to monitor results and performance in current roles.
    3. Generating economic growth, stimulating the creation of small businesses and encouraging cross-border trade are key factors in maintaining stability and security.
    4. Trade facilitation, navigating speedy border controls and prioritising traffic as part of an effective risk management strategy are common themes around the world.
    5. Considerable opportunities exist for Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia region in supporting improved cross border trade. These include the ability to attract international business investment, providing employment opportunities and raising tax revenues as well as removing non-tariff barriers.
    6. Attention should be focused on the development of legal frameworks and public private partnerships, bilateral and multilateral agreements, consistent with WTO, WCO, IRU and other organisations and agencies as levers.

 

  1. The Workshop recommended that continuation of similar dialogue be encouraged through further such meetings over the course of the next two years.
    1. In support of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process, trade commerce and investment opportunities and regional infrastructure confidence building measures (CBM), further events should continue to include government officials and senior officers from border agencies and the private sector.
    2. Such meetings should include representatives of major stakeholders and relevant public private partnerships.

 

  1. Way forward. This declaration and recommendations will be reported to the next Heart of Asia Conference, to be held in Pakistan in December 2015, with a view to discussing possibilities for further enhancements in regional cooperation across Afghanistan and South and Central Asia, including implementation. EU and UNDP jointly recommend holding another event of this kind in one year.