DUSHANBE, February 28, 2012, Asia-Plus -- A two-day conference on cross-border cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan has opened in Dushanbe today.

Organized on an initiative of the Government of Japan and the European Union (EU) countries, the conference is being held at the Serena Hotel Dushanbe.

The event has brought together representatives from customs and border services as well as counternarcotics agencies and trade bodies of the two countries to discuss issues related to strengthening border management, reducing drug trafficking as well as facilitating trade and improving customs procedures.

Mr. Alexander Zouev, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan, representatives of Japan’s Government and Mr. Eduard Auer, the EU Ambassador to Tajikistan, as well as senior representatives from relevant international organizations active in the country have been invited to attend the conference.

Meanwhile, concerning recommendations from the Japan-EU Conference on Tajikistan-Afghanistan Border Management and Trade Facilitation that took lace in Dushanbe on October 7-8, 2010, Japan’s Foreign Ministry noted that  responding to the Japan-EU Summit held in April 2010, the objectives of that Conference were to discuss (a) contribution towards the facilitation of legitimate trade and transit, (b) methods to reduce the illicit movement of goods and people, (c) how to enhance security in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries.

Mindful of the broad and wide ranging coverage that border management and trade facilitation in Central Asia encompasses, in order to produce a concrete outcome to be reported to the Japan-EU High Level Group established by the Japan-EU Summit, the conference focused on the following areas: Tajik and Afghan Customs reform and modernization; international and local initiatives and contribution in the region; technical assistance and capacity building; risk management; improvement and optimization of workflow at land border crossing point.