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Second Regional Meeting of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean

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In 13 November 2013, UNODC, in conjunction with  World Customs Organization (WCO), inaugurated the  2nd Regional Meeting of the  UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP)  in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Meeting will take place from 13 to 15 November 2013 and, for the second consecutive year, will be hosted in Panama City, Panama, under the auspices of the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean.

The Container Control Programme is currently being implemented in 9 regional Member States, including: Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic , Ecuador , Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica ,  Panama, Paraguay and Suriname. Delegations from these participating Member States are participating in the Meeting, allowing for ample exchange of views, experiences, skills and knowledge of key issues, including: money laundering, illicit trafficking of medicine and strategic goods (such as, stolen intellectual property, or chemical, radioactive or nuclear substances, for example), and the application of United Nations Security Council sanctions, among other topics.

In addition to the regional delegations in attendance during the opening ceremony, Her Excellency Sylvia Ceseratto, Ambassador of Canada to Panama; Mr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for Central America and the Caribbean; Ms. Luz Zamora, Director of the Inter-Institutional Office for Risk Analysis of the National Customs Authority; Mr. Ketil Ottersen, CCP Programme Coordinator, UNODC Vienna; and, Mr. Norbert Steilen, CCP Programme Coordinator, WCO Belgium, were also present.  

During his address, the UNODC Regional Representative expressed deep satisfaction with the progress of the CCP in the region, highlighting efficient cooperation between UNODC and OMA and the leadership shown by Latin American countries, as the driving factors behind the numerous successes attributed to the Programme. Likewise, the Regional Representative also highlighted the challenges and opportunities that will be generated in the area of security in the coming years, as a consequence of the strategic importance of Panama and the expansion of its Canal.

The CCP, a joint initiative of UNODC and the World Customs Organization, was created for the purpose of assisting Governments in the implementation and strengthening of sustainable structures in selected maritime ports, with the aim of reducing the risk of exploitation of maritime containers for the illegal trafficking of drugs and other illicit activities.

The Joint Port Control Units (JPCUs) at the forefront of this innovative approach, play an instrumental role in facilitating collaboration between institutions in participating maritime ports. The JPCUs are comprised of analysts who are equipped and trained to cooperate effectively in scientifically and systematically carrying out risk analyses of containers that may represent a threat with regard to the illicit trafficking of drugs and counterfeit goods, fiscal fraud, and other related crimes. To do so, they utilize proactive techniques and advanced information tools which minimize the interruption of legal trade, while promoting greater efficiency in the seizure of illicit goods. This approach has led to a marked reduction in the number of unfruitful inspections and, simultaneously, a significant increase in the percentage of successful seizures.

The Container Control Programme has enjoyed remarkable success throughout the world, specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean. Examples from specific countries in the region include 500% increase in seizures of protected wood; 918% increase in seizures of precursor drug materials; 1123% increase in seizures of illicit drugs; and 4023% increase in seizures of counterfeit goods. Furthermore, there have also been various seizures carried out in Europe as a result of alerts  made by various JPCUs in Latin America and the Caribbean, resulting in drug seizures of approximately 4 tonnes in the past 2 years alone.

The Container Control Programme has emerged as a key initiative in international logistics security. For more information on this Programme, click  here