Combating International Wildlife Trafficking is high on the Port Control Units’ agenda in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan

From 21 to 23 September 2020, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Central Asia conducted a three day Online Training on Combating International Wildlife Trafficking for the officers from the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, including members of the Port Control Units (PCUs) and Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU), and the officers of the State Customs Committee of Turkmenistan, PCUs under the UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme (CCP). The training was part of the CCP distance learning activities for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan for 2020. The training was organized based on the needs and priorities of the CCP beneficiary agencies in the above countries with the aim to strengthen the knowledge and skills of Customs officers in Central Asia in combatting international wildlife trafficking, analysis of documents and inter-agency cooperation in this area.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Marat Kabdushev, representative from the State Revenue Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, CCP National Focal Point, highlighted the importance of CCP topic covered during the training. He noted that there are many cases related to wildlife trafficking in Kazakhstan and reiterated the Customs’ key role in ensuring the trade flow in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provisions to bring wildlife criminals to justice. In his turn, Mr. Kerim Berdiyev, representative from the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan, CCP National Focal Point, expressed his confidence that following completion of the training event, the PCUs will become more educated and well-informed about special techniques and modus operandi in wildlife trafficking and related violations.

Mr. Batyr Geldiyev, UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator stressed that presently wildlife crime transformed into one of the largest transnational criminal activity along with drug trafficking and human smuggling. Criminal groups use the same routes and techniques for wildlife trafficking as for other illicit commodities, exploiting gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems. These challenges require Customs Administrations and other competent authorities to combine efforts to pay attention on border and customs control in terms of prevention of illicit wildlife and forest crimes.

During three days of the workshop, the frontline Customs officers learned about international and national approaches in addressing wildlife crime, the links of organized criminal networks along illegal wildlife supply chain and effective law enforcements responses to reduce demand for wildlife products and interrupt the flow of illegal goods. National experts from the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan and Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan shared the national experience on implementation of wildlife legal commitments in the countries.

Under the guidance of UNODC and WCO experienced trainers, the PCU members of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan strengthened their professional competence in detection and investigation of wildlife crimes to better fight the criminal threats that undermine biological diversity, society and security of nations and regions. They also conducted practical exercises in analyzing of bill of ladings and CITES permits using the risk sea/land/air indicators and risk assessment tools to identify the suspicious illegal shipment smuggling the timber, ivory, rhino horns, pangolin and other species of flora and fauna under protection of CITES Convention. The health and security challenges were also reviewed during the training. Moreover, the joint training activities for Kazakh and Turkmen Customs officials further enhanced practical cooperation between the Customs Administrations of two countries under the Memorandum of Understanding on the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units signed in Tashkent on 22 May 2019.

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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