How customs officers protect life on earth – WCO

The Secretary General of World Customs Organisation (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, has stated that customs officers are crucial to the protection of life on earth “by consistently conducting border checks on the compliance of environmentally sensitive goods with the provisions of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), Customs officers play a vital role in protecting life on earth.”

He added that “there is no doubt that, when performed on a global scale and in coordination, these efforts to phase out ozone-depleting substances will have a multiplying effect. They will also contribute meaningfully to the achievement of UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 3 which is aimed at ensuring global health and promoting well-being for all.”

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stated this in an address to mark the 2022 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (World Ozone Day) last week.
This year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and OzonAction are calling for global action under the theme “Montreal Protocol@35: global cooperation protecting life on earth”.

Mikuriya said that as part of their mission to protect people and the environment, frontline Customs officers must prevent and detect the illegal trade in ozone depleting substances (ODS).
According to him, “to support them in this mission, the WCO, in cooperation with OzonAction and the Green Customs Initiative partners, provides training and guidance to Customs around the world, enhancing Customs officers’ skills and facilitating their access to information so that they can successfully tackle the illegal trade in ODS. The WCO also coordinates global enforcement operations, such as “Demeter”, targeting illicit ODS shipments.

“The success of Customs’ enforcement efforts in ensuring the consistent implementation of MEAs relies on multilateral cooperation, risk management and the application of technology for data exchange and analytics purposes, as well as on continuous capacity building. By developing a cooperation network and enhancing intelligence gathering and exchange, Customs services are contributing towards global endeavours to protect the planet and its inhabitants.”
The WCO Secretary-General reaffirmed the WCO support to its United Nations (UN) partners and to the Customs community in implementing the Montreal Protocol and its most recent Amendment (the Kigali Amendment). The effective implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the Montreal Protocol, addressing specific environmental problems at national, regional and global levels, is essential to guarantee that products being traded are safe both for human health and the environment.

Under the Montreal Protocol, groups of chemicals are classified according to the chemical family and are listed in annexes to the Protocol. The Protocol requires the control of nearly 100 chemicals, in several categories. For each group or annex of chemicals, the Treaty sets out a timetable for the phase-out of production and consumption of those substances, with the aim of eventually eliminating them completely.

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