The scourge of waste plastic has been a source of concerns to the World Customs Organisation (WCO) who described its management as a new global challenge the world is facing nowadays.
The WCO is developing an Operational Handbook on Security Strategies, Equipment and Personnel Training for Customs in Fragile Borderlands (Security Handbook Project) to address the challenge and also WCO’s Project on Plastic Waste Border Management (Waste Management Project) in the Asia/Pacific region.
The projects have received the support of the Japanese Government as the Secretary General of the WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, and the Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Mr. Makita Shimokawa, at the Headquarters of the WCO in Brussels, Belgium exchanged Note Verbales on the Government of Japan’s financial contribution to the projects.
According to the WCO Director General, the Security Handbook Project is aimed at developing an operational handbook to assist Customs administrations, whose jurisdiction includes fragile borderlands, to enhance their capabilities, in order to withstand the immense security challenges faced by their Customs officials.
“Plastic waste management is a new global challenge that the world is facing nowadays. The WCO and the international Customs community can play a major role by coordinating their efforts to minimize and eventually eliminate the destructive impact that plastic waste imposes on the environment,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Mikuriya.
Adding “the Government of Japan’s continuing support for WCO security-related initiatives goes a long way in further strengthening the security capabilities of Customs administrations worldwide.”
Mr. Makita Shimokawa stressed that Japan highly appreciated all activities to address emerging issues faced by WCO Member Customs administrations under the leadership of Secretary General Dr. Mikuriya. Moreover, he emphasized that the funded projects would continue to render much deeper and stronger cooperation, as well as mutual trust, not only with the WCO, but also with its members.
“Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet,” is the WCO’s theme in 2020, under which the broader Customs community is focusing on its contribution towards a sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental needs are at the heart of its actions.
Customs is uniquely mandated and positioned at borders to play a prominent role across the international supply chain, ensuring a sustainable, secure, and inclusive future for all. Therefore, with only 10 years left to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and given the direct links between Customs’ strategic mission and several of the SDGs, it is important for Customs to meet all the environmental, economic, health and social challenges while scaling up its ongoing efforts to respond effectively in a more proactive manner.
Against this background, the Waste Management Project receives financial support under the “MARINE initiative” that Japan launched to realize the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” which it shared at the G20 Osaka Summit last year. The Project will be implemented under the auspices of the WCO Environmental Programme and will aim at strengthening the capacity of Customs administrations to mitigate and appropriately respond to environmental threats in the Asia/Pacific region, with a special focus on the implementation of the Basel Convention and on matters of plastic waste and the illegal shipment thereof.