Strengthening practical cooperation in the Region to identify and suppress high-risk consignments under Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and the Port Control Units

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Central Asia organized an Online Inter-Regional Expert Level Meeting on the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and the Port Control Units (IREN Network) under the UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme (CCP) on 10-11 September 2020. More than 80 experts from Customs Administrations and other competent authorities of CCP participating countries including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, CCP donors and partner organizations participated in the event. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to review the progress and set up the priorities of the IREN Network. 

During opening ceremony, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia stated that “CCP participating countries have achieved a lot since the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on establishing IREN Network a year ago by the Heads of Customs Administrations of the region, including Azerbaijan’s intention to join IREN Network, exchange visits among IREN participating countries, increased number of information exchanges among Port Control Units (PCUs) and significant seizures thanks to collaboration among PCUs”. In his opening remarks, Mr. Ketil Ottersen, CCP Senior Programme Coordinator, stressed that “CCP is committed to further support cross-border activities and IREN Network by strengthening its partnerships with CCP participating countries in these important areas”.

As an outcome of the meeting, the officials from 10 participating countries developed the list of recommendations and future actions for IREN Network that will guide further CCP engagement in the region. The participants also approved the relevant documents on enhancing the inter-regional practical cooperation mechanisms.

On 22 May 2019, the Heads of Customs Authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the Republic of Uzbekistan committed to further foster inter-regional cooperation by signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units during the Sixth Annual Inter-Regional Meeting under CCP in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Memorandum of Understanding sets up a regular information exchange mechanism through the establishment of the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units within the framework of CCP.

The CCP Regional Segment for Central Asia is funded by the Government of Japan and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme.


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