Managing Porous Borders in Southeast Asia

Cambodia Outreach

27 February – 2 March 2007

Objectives.  The objectives of this event were to (1) provide a current understanding of various perspectives on border-control challenges, commonly shared by Southeast Asia countries; (2) exchange descriptions and views of the basic requirements for improving border control, from control organizations and processes, to basic operational procedures, to needed support technology, to training to properly control all forms of traffic across borders; (3) obtain a better appreciation for shared border control, where appropriate and necessary; facilitate small-group identification of ways and means of leveraging effective border control to deter, interdict and lessen various forms of trafficking detrimental to effective governance and population protection within the region; (4) exchange participant way-ahead views on next steps required to improve regional border control systems that work well.


Purpose.  The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the impact on participants at this outreach event in Cambodia as well as its effectiveness in achieving the stated objectives.


Results.  Participants gained a better understanding of various perspectives on border control challenges among Southeast Asia countries by exchanging descriptions and views of the requirements for improving border control.  Participants developed and/or gained a stronger conviction that cooperation, at the national, regional and international levels, is the key to resolving transnational threats and challenges confronting mainland Southeast Asia countries.  Additionally, they identified the next steps required to improve regional border control.

Survey Analysis



Cooperation & Collaboration:  Participants stated the outreach provided them a better understanding of the need for cooperation and collaboration among Southeast Asia countries.  This event enabled them to meet and interact with people from different countries providing them with a relevant network of professionals.  Participants plan to use and build on this foundation of cooperation to collaborate with other Southeast Asia countries to better meet the challenges of border security.  The opportunity “to meet relevant people, test the commitment and encourage further cooperation [for] sharing [and] illustrating ongoing projects” contributed greatly to their understanding of various transnational challenges associated with porous borders.  The participants stated they better understand “the need to enhance regional and international cooperation.”  They realize “regional/international cooperation is essential for success” in meeting the challenges associated with porous borders.  This event allowed them “to identify control organizations and processes for sharing border control” and “points of contact within the region to conduct further coordination.”  They now understand that “friendly cooperation and communication within country capacity building…is a need for developing countries so that they understand the issues.”  They plan to identify the next steps forward by utilizing this “wider network [of] other friends and agencies in designing and implementing future border control activities in this region;” and to “build [upon this] network to [accomplish] follow-up action” with other countries and, specifically, “to take joint action with Laos, Cambodia, [and] Burma.”

Sharing Views & Broadening Perspectives:  Participants stated that listening to other countries’ views on border control issues broadened their perspective which contributed to their overall understanding of transnational challenges associated with porous borders.  Participants found it “very useful to hear the various country experts and to hear of particular problems/issues that may be acting as a drag on progress.”  They stated this outreach enable them “to exchange operational experience and their thoughts/theories to broaden [their] perspective” to better meet the challenges of porous borders.  Participants stated the event was most useful in “broade[ning their] perspective on border situations, [giving them] different perspectives on looking at the problems and different ways of handling the problems for this region.”  They stated that the on-going “dialogue with [other] participants” enabling the “exchanging [of] ideas and experiences” was most valuable to better meet the challenges associated with porous borders.  Participants also stated this event changed their perspectives on border control challenges by increasing their “trust and confidence” in other countries.  They now know that “building trust among partner countries is needed to solve border control challenges in the region.”  Outreach events like these provide the foundation to build the necessary trust and confidence throughout the region to promote cooperation and collaboration.


Application to Current Duties. Participants plan to take action and apply what they learned to improve porous border issues.  They plan “to apply [their new-found knowledge] to [their] work” and “develop an action plan in order to influence the right [people] to make changes.”  They “will continue [to] help countries in the region with border control and better border management.”

Policy Changes:  Other participants plan to initiate policy changes on border control.  They stated they plan to “advise for policy development changes” and make “policy recommendations.”  This course of action coupled with training, cooperation and coordination, and application can have powerful results.


Knowledge on Border Issues:  Participants stated their perspectives were changed by substantially increasing their knowledge on border control challenges.  “This event provided great insight into the complexity of the issue.”  They “learned much concerning the issues and gain[ed] a better understanding of how to support future policy development.”  Increasing their knowledge on border issues not only changed their perspectives on border issues, but also allowed them to identify next steps forward to improve border control.  Participants stated the event allowed them to identify next steps forward by “better understanding how to tailor future policy and gain better regional buy-in through incorporating the comments and suggestions of regional participants.”  “It provided info[rmation] into identifying the areas at the local as well as international level in improving border control.”

Educational Sharing.  Many participants stated they plan to report and share the valuable information they gained from this event.  They plan to “report to the high ranking officers” and “suggest and recommend and convey” the information to others.  Participants plan to train others on what they learned and to “identify training areas which might improve border control and cooperation in the region.”  They also plan to “coordinate military training [to] facilitate capacity building of security forces to better manage border and internal security.”

Survey Methodology.  The Outreach Survey was administered to 100% of the 46 participants from 9 countries and 3 international organizations.  The survey was comprised of 6 qualitative questions, a rating question, and an additional comment section.

Contact Information.  For more information, please contact Assessment and Evaluation at (808) 971-8911 or email mcdonaldd@apcss.org.


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