OSCE seminar focuses on fight against corruption in border services in Central Asia, South Caucasus

July 14. The FINANCIAL

OSCE seminar focuses on fight against corruption in border services in Central Asia, South CaucasusHow to best promote integrity in customs and border services in Central Asia and the South Caucasus was the topic of a regional OSCE seminar that concluded on July 13 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

“Participants in the seminar discussed the development and implementation of national strategies and reforms to combat corruption. Participants also emphasized the importance of public-private co-operation, technology and training courses to fight corruption,” OSCE said.

“Corruption in border and customs services hampers foreign investments and creates opportunities for untaxed goods to flow in and out the country, which leads to a reduction of tax revenues and forces governments to raise money in other ways,” said Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana.

“Corrupt officials mean porous borders, which creates a risk for illegal trafficking, illegal immigration and the spread of transnational crime and terrorist activities.”

The Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, the OSCE Centre in Astana and the World Customs Organization organized the two-day meeting, with support of the Customs Committee of Kazakhstan, which holds the 2010 OSCE Chairmanship.

More than 60 senior representatives from customs, border guard authorities, non-governmental organizations and business associations from Armenia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan took part.

Seminar participants recommended that the OSCE remain involved in work to fight corruption in borders and customs services. The seminar was a follow-up to the 2010 OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, which focused on good governance at border crossings, improving the security of land transportation and facilitating international transport by road and rail.