UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme: Participating States Support Inter-Regional Network of Port Control Units to Identify and Suppress High Risk Consignments

From 23-24 May 2018, the Government of Turkmenistan jointly with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Central Asia hosted the Fifth Annual Inter-Regional Meeting under the UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme in Avaza, Turkmenistan.

The meeting brought together around seventy senior and expert level officials from Customs Administrations and other competent authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and the Republic of Uzbekistan,  as well as donor countries and partner organizations to further strengthen inter-regional cooperation among CCP participating states and discuss priorities and needs in container control field.

During the opening ceremony, Mr. Beggeldi Patjanov, Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan, expressed appreciation to UNODC and WCO for supporting initiatives aimed at strengthening inter-regional cooperation and assured the State Customs Service's active participation in CCP activities at national and regional levels.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, encouraged CCP participating states to further strengthen practical cooperation among Port Control Units in the region by establishing effective and sustainable mechanisms to combat drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

Mr. Ketil Ottersen, UNODC Senior Programme Coordinator, stressed that CCP, initiated in 2004, remains ideally placed to support the strengthening of international supply chain security by building national border administrations' capacities to tackle threats related to sea, land and air cargo.

The Outcome Document of the meeting supporting the establishment of a regular information exchange mechanism via Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units in the framework of CCP has been adopted by participating officials of Customs Administrations and other competent authorities and was an important step towards further strengthening regional and international practical cooperation among ten CCP participating states.

During the course of the meeting, the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan as co-host agency organized a visit to a newly opened International Sea Port in Turkmenbashy and conducted an opening of a dedicated Port Control Unit in the Sea Port with participation of all delegations.

The CCP Regional Segments for Afghanistan, Black Sea, Central Asia and Pakistan are funded by the Governments of Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan and the United States of America (the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program). The event was co-sponsored by «Countering the trafficking of Afghan opiates via the northern route by enhancing the capacity of key border crossing points (BCPs) and through the establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs)» component of the Programme for Central Asia 2015-2019.