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BLO-CBT Conference in Cambodia

Sihanoukville (Cambodia), 30 July 2009 - Since the establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) in 2000, due to various factors some Computer Based Training (CBT) installations are no longer operational, with other problems also, such as a high turnover rate among BLO staff. Partly as a response to this, from 27-30 July 2009 a BLO-CBT Conference was held in Sihanouk Ville, Cambodia. The aim of this 4-day conference - attended by delegates from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam - was to develop a future plan of action to overcome the problems experienced, as well as to highlight the importance of CBT training in connection with BLOs at the national level, and to examine the progress made in implementing the introduction and development of the BLO-CBT strategy.

The information gathered at the BLO-CBT Conference was used to outline a plan of action that caters specifically to the future needs and development of BLO-CBT system. Highlighted in this plan are the need for computer hardware to be renovated and/or replaced, for national governments to formulate plans for taking responsibility of the provision of technical and financial support to BLO-CBT sites, and the need for new and updated CBT training modules to respond to transnational crimes such as the trafficking of humans and environmental resources.

Secretary General of National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), Lt. Gen. Moek Dara delivered the opening speech at the Conference, in which he praised the impact that the introduction of BLOs have had in reducing drug trafficking in the Cambodian border region. CBT certificates were given to Cambodian BLO Officers at the end of the Conference. The Conference was seen as a major success to the enhancement and strengthening of Border Cooperation among participating countries.

During the Conference, the UNODC's Senior Law Enforcement Advisor responsible for the expansion of CBT networks and the Cross-Border Cooperation (BLO) RASI61 Project Coordinator conducted a rapid assessment of Sihanouk Ville international port. With the full support from Lt. General Moek Dara, who participated in a half-day-study-visit to the port authority along with the UNODC representatives, it was determined that the port has the potential to be a prime site for the establishment of a Port BLO. If it is implemented, Sihanouk Ville international port will be the first BLO Port under the UNODC RC Project support.