World Customs Organisation initiates special counter-terrorism project for West and Central Africa

Hameed Ali, CustomsCG

The growing threat of terrorism in the West and Central Africa region to the operations of customs has gained attention of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) as the Government of Japan planned to fund implementation of the WCO’s special security project for the region.

This was disclosed by WCO during a meeting between the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, and the Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Mr. Hajime Hayashi, at WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgiumm last week.

According to WCO, global terrorism poses a variety of threats, not only to the security and safety of people, but also to economic development and political stability, making it imperative for Customs administrations to further strengthen their efforts to secure borders and protect international supply chains.

Mikuriya said “Our new Customs counter-terrorism initiative demonstrates the collective determination of the international Customs community to effectively fight against global terrorism and its adverse impact on international trade, particularly in the West and Central Africa (WCA) region. 

“This initiative enables us to actively support Customs administrations and other stakeholders in West and Central Africa in taking the necessary measures to further secure the supply chain and combat terrorism.”

The Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Hajime Hayashi, stressed that Japan highly appreciated the WCO’s activities to address emerging issues faced by WCO member customs administrations, such as counter-terrorism activities, under the leadership of Secretary General Mikuriya.

 He further emphasized that the project being funded would bring about much deeper and stronger cooperation and mutual trust not only with the WCO but also between West and Central Africa members. And he wished the WCO every success with the project.

At the G7 Summit held in Ise-Shima, Japan, on 26 and 27 May 2016, the G7 Leaders adopted the “G7 Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism,” which makes specific reference to the WCO Security Programme as a means of enhancing border security and assisting WCO Members to counter the threat posed by terrorists and other criminal organizations.  Furthermore, the WCO Security Programme is also mentioned in the “G20 Action Plan on Countering Terrorism” adopted in July 2017.

In line with the G7 and G20 Action Plans, and in order to further expand the reach of the WCO Security Programme, the WCO, with financial support from the Government of Japan totalling over three million US dollars, has decided to launch a new initiative for Customs administrations in WCA, specifically focusing on border security-related challenges in the region, by means of strengthening Programme Global Shield (PGS)*.

The UN Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team encouraged United Nations (UN) Member States to participate in PGS in accordance with the measures set out in UNSC Resolutions 1526(2004), 2253(2015) and 2368(2017) in its report issued on 26 January 2018 (S/2018/14).  Several items monitored by PGS are listed among prohibited items in UNSC Resolution 2375, adopted on 11 September 2017.  The strengthening of PGS will directly support the effective implementation of the relevant UNSC Resolutions.  

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