The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the German Central Customs Authority have signed a grant agreement to improve Customs security and trade-related procedures in West Africa.
The grant under the Phase 2 of the West Africa Security Project (WASP) is to improve Customs security and trade-related procedures in order to control supply chains more effectively by restricting access to improvised explosive devices (IED) precursor chemicals and components, small arms and light weapons (SALW) and other forms of illicit trade in goods and cash that may be used for financing terrorism. In order to achieve this objective, the Project is focused on providing awareness raising, a wide range of detection equipment, nCEN training, training related to IED detection and border security preparedness.
The initial stage of the Project, launched on 15 March 2021 and lasting for six months, was successfully concluded in September 2021 with a high-level conference where results and way forward were discussed.
This multi-annual phased Project, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, is unique as it is the first formal cooperation between German Customs and the WCO in the area of border security. It is a part of a wider German Government initiative, aimed at facilitating the security sector reform in partner countries, namely in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.
Recognizing the importance of gender equality and diversity (GED) as prerequisites for achieving sustainable development and ensuring peace and security in West Africa, the Project has a new and innovative component on GED to be managed by the WCO. This project component aims at supporting Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, the beneficiaries of WASP Phase 1, in developing and implementing gender responsive and inclusive policies and practices with specific focus on security aspects.
The GED Project component will leverage the initiatives and tools that the WCO has launched in the recent years to enhance the GED agenda, including the WCO Gender Equality Organizational Assessment Tool (GEOAT) and the Blended Training Package on advancing gender equality and inclusion specifically targeting Customs.
It will guide partnership administrations in identifying current gaps with regard to GED implementation and support them in the process of developing comprehensive action plans aiming at implementing a gender responsive and inclusive perspective in services, thereby strengthening stakeholder engagement and outreach. Under the project, a dedicated chapter to the GEOAT will also be developed, specifically targeting security aspects.
WASP Phase 2, initially envisaged for 15 months, is planned to be launched in October 2022.