Customs is important in combating environmental crimes, illicit trades – WCO

Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service

The importance of Customs in combating environmental crime and other illicit trade has been outlined by the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Dr. Rolph Payet who said such crime and illicit trade generate illegal profits for organized criminal networks, thus hampering sustainable development. 

Dr. Rolph Payet stated this in a keynote paper he delivered at the opening session of the 40th Enforcement Committee meeting on Monday 24 February 2020 at World Customs Organisation (WCO) Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The theme of the meeting was “Customs Enforcement fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet.”

WCO Secretary General Mikuriya told the Committee that Customs activities were contributing substantially to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including through building safe and secure societies, improving the business climate and securing necessary resources, and protecting the planet for future generations. 

He affirmed that the WCO could provide tools, platforms for exchanging information and best practices, and partnerships to further strengthen the role of Customs in achieving sustainability.

Dr. Mikuriya and Dr. Payet subsequently had a bilateral meeting to explore areas for future cooperation between the WCO and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.  These include developing training material for Customs, utilizing online training, and enhancing networks between Customs and experts on multilateral environmental agreements in areas including wastes, hazardous chemicals and persistent organic pollutants. 

They both agreed to enhance dialogue and collaboration enabling Customs and relevant environmental authorities to work together effectively on the ground, and notably to join forces during future operations.

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