Written by Mekong Institute  

The training course on “Strengthening Coordinated Cross Border Systems in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam – CLMV” was conducted on 2 to 11 September 2013 at the Mekong Institute Residential Training Center, Khon Kaen, Thailand. The course was co-sponsored by Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thailand and Singapore Cooperation Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore. Course participants were mid-level civil servants who are involved in cross-border procedure such as officers from customs, immigration and sanitary and phyto-sanitary departments of CLMV countries.

The general objectives of the course were to enhance the participants’ appreciation of the urgency to facilitate Asian Single Window (ASW) and improve their knowledge and skills on coordinated cross border management in an inter-active and shared learning environment.

Twenty-five participants from relevant ministries and government agencies in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam attended the training. The participants gave an over-all rating of 3.93 (well attained) on the achievement of the training objectives. According to the participants, the training responded to their expectations, experiences and employed effective training delivery methods.

The project was delivered in four modules to equip participants with basic concepts on Asian Economic Cooperation, Cross-Border Transportation and Single Window and encourage appreciating the cross-border coordination to enhance the more systematic service delivery to the national and cross-border economic development.

Module-1: The first session of Module 1 allowed trainers to prepare the groundwork, break the ice and give the overview of the training workshop and adult learning principles. The second session provided the overview for the importance of coordinated cross border management in the context of the ASEAN Single Window system and Cross Border Transport Agreement, as well as the Best Practices of Cross-Border Management from Singapore.

Module-2: This module facilitated enhancing knowledge and competencies towards efficient, professional and ethical border management. Such as understanding of the functions of immigration controls, the threats that they face and the importance of travel and identity documents in the control process, the efforts in better management of visa application case loads, streamlining processes, eliminate time-consuming administrative functions, improving service standards and combating frauds.

Modul-3: This module exposed participants to the GMS and ASEAN Customs Cooperation Framework and explored ways to simplify and harmonize cross-border customs regulations and procedures.

Module-4: Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Measures, focused on the application of systems and regulations to ensure safety in food, animal and plant health in the cross border movement of food and agricultural commodities.

Learning methodologies included theoretical inputs such as lectures and presentations, as well as inter-active exercises, such as, small group discussions, case studies, videos, group discussions, field visits. The overall program evaluation show’s that participants were satisfied with the learning content and methodologies. Project outcomes included knowledge and understanding of all components and mechanisms relating to cross-border procedure management, best practice from Singapore and Thailand on immigration and custom policy, and establishing good working relationship among participants from other Mekong countries. (Part IV Ways Forward)

Towards the end of the training, the participants’ defined areas of priority actions that they would want to carry out in their respective countries, as well as recommendations common actions at the GMS-level and for future similar training.

Recommendations for future Cross border procedure training were:

  • Diverse, intense and in-depth examples on the linkage or simplification between customs and another inter-agency.
  • How Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) sector can get involved in single window and Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA)?
  • Practical suggestions on how to prepare for 2015 AEC and Asian Single Window for all sectors involving in the cross-border issue, or in other words MI should include module/sessions facilitating technical learning.
  • Show the benefit or income for Government from practicing Asian Single Window (ASW) System.
  • Technical learning on how to link National Single Window to ASEAN Single window
  • Knowledge and understanding skills development in detecting of fraudulent documents
  • MI to organize the structured learning visit (SLV) for GMS members to visit other ASEAN members to physically observe the best practice case study for better understanding and learning of the practical implantation of the process.
  • Increase time for sharing more case studies on how SPS sector can be involved in the single window and CBTA?

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