South America advances towards integration of its border crossings
Authorities and experts from COSIPLAN discuss the ways to achieve further accountability, efficiency, and promptness in cargo and passenger movement between the countries of the region.
A meeting will be held within the framework of the activities of the Executive Technical Planning Group for Integration and Development of Border Areas, attached to the South American Council of Infrastructure and Planning (COSIPLAN) of UNASUR. The event will be supported by the Technical Coordination Committee, made up by the multilateral Banks of the region.
The participants, delegates from the Member States who work in the field of customs, security, trade services, and, production, as well as representatives from the General Secretariat of the Union of South American Nations, BID, CAF, and FONPLATA, will address the progress achieved so far the and challenges to the systematization of administrative procedures and formalities for exchange of goods and mobility of people between the countries of the region. The meeting is scheduled for September 12 and 13, in the hall of the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (BID-INTAL), in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Argentina and Chile are in front of this area within the Technical Forum of COSIPLAN, and will coordinate this event that aims at defining the dynamics established between the different actors, operators, and institutions in the border areas.
Atilio Alimena, Director of Planning for International Territorial Integration from the Argentinian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Works, and Housing, pointed out, “Coordination between the different public and private actors -both national and international- that operate in the border areas, is a fundamental step for modernization and efficiency in border control. In this regard, Argentina and Chile have achieved relevant progress in this field through the launching of a Master Plan on Border Crossings, which includes a commitment for joint investment up to 2030.”
The meeting will also serve to promote multinational dialogue aimed at transforming border areas into integration and development spaces, while addressing economic, social, and environmental issues.
During the two days of the meeting, the participants will discuss issues linked to integrated and interoperable management systems, inter-institutional cooperation, single window for foreign trade (VUCE, by its acronym in Spanish), and different management models for border areas, all of this building up on real cases from in Latin America.
Rigoberto García, Coordinator of International Affairs at the Chilean Ministry of Public Works said, “The relevance of cargo and passenger transportation in border crossings and in integration areas is undeniable. Annual growth in goods and tourism exchange has created the need for enhanced transboundary flows and improved control systems. Implementation of new technologies may make a difference in this regard.”
New information platform on border crossings in South America
Within the framework of the 2017 Working Plan, the countries from the region agreed to develop a public-access platform, with all the relevant information on ground border crossings in South America, for the benefit of the citizens of the region.
This tool, which will be available by Internet, may also contain information on the territories where the crossings are established, aimed at preparing integration and economic and social development plans for those areas.
Marcela Espinoza Nissim, Head of the Legal Enforcement Department at the National Direction of Borders and Boundaries of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “This platform will be developed in two stages. The first one includes the integration of the general information on the operating border crossings between South American countries, with basic data especially valuable for users, such as access routes, traffic conditions, service hours, travel documents, and required forms. The second stage, for internal use of COSIPLAN, will include details on the border areas and the surrounding populations.”
This effort entails the commitment and particular actions by COSIPLAN to maintain continuous multinational dialogue and to promote knowledge and experience exchange between the countries of the region, aimed at building trust between the Ministries, attached bodies and entities from the involved governments.