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Site visit of Lesotho and Seychelles delegations to Finland on Co-ordinated Border Management

22 octubre 2015

29 September – 1 October 2015

The sixth site visit on Co-ordinated Border Management (CBM) was held between 29 September and 1 October 2015 in Finland. The site visits are supported under the WCO ESA Project ‘Building Trade Capacity through Customs Modernization in the East and Southern Africa Region’ and funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Delegates from Lesotho and Seychelles had the opportunity to see and better understand how government agencies engaged in regulation of foreign trade and the private sector can coordinate their operations efficiently and effectively through joint allocation of tasks and duties.

The two delegations included senior officials from both Customs and other government agencies. The Lesotho delegation comprised officials from Lesotho Revenue Authority, National Security Services, Veterinary Public Health, Immigration and Lesotho Mounted Police Services. The delegation from Seychelles had representatives from Seychelles Customs, Customs Agent Association, Border Control and Agricultural Agency.

This three day site visit provided an opportunity for the representatives of the various border agencies to understand the functions and procedures of each other. The visit also gave an insight to the officials on the necessary service levels required to meet trade facilitation objectives. Above all, the visit highlighted the importance of systematic cooperation between all government authorities and the private sector. The site visits to Vuosaari Port and Nuijamaa land border post, provided excellent practical case studies of successful co-operation between Government Agencies at border entry points. The delegates were thus challenged to (re)consider on what is possible when agencies work together towards common objectives.

By supporting such site visits, a number of benefits occur. Not only do delegates observe and gain ideas about how things can be done differently, but such visits also allow officials from various agencies to engage with one another and thus benefit future cooperation between these agencies in their respective countries.

Finland has adopted a coordinated approach towards border management for more than 80 years, with only Border Guards and Customs at the borders. Therefore, through its support to the project, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs hopes to contribute to the establishment of desirable border business environments where goods and people move freely, and state authorities are reliable and accountable. This will help to ensure economic growth and increased welfare.

The visit was organized by the WCO and the Finnish Customs while the Customs Administrations of Lesotho and Seychelles coordinated the successful selection of participants at their national level.

All participants expressed their intention to share the information of what they have learnt on CBM in their respective organizations. Comments and observations shared by the participants emphasized a sense of renewed belief in the prospects of inter-agency coordination and a commitment to ensuring that Government agencies would collaborate to drive change and development at the national level.