The UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme increases the awareness of the Port Control Units in the Caspian Sea region on strategic trade and export control

On 22-26 August 2022, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Central Asia organized a regional workshop on strategic trade and criminal intelligence, transit and transshipment fraud, as well as export controls within the framework of the UNODC–World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme (CCP) in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The event brought together over 20 representatives of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan, as well as other law-enforcement agencies. 

Mr. Asgar Abdullayev, the Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in his welcoming remarks, commended the efforts of the UNODC–WCO Global Container Control Programme on enhancing the capacities of Port Control Units (PSU) in countering trafficking in drugs and other illicit goods, transnational organized crime, and other forms of black-market activity, and expressed a confidence that the workshop would become a productive discussion platform for the exchange of experience, and effective interaction. He also mentioned that this event would also contribute to strengthening the regional cooperation and partnership between Customs services.

During these five days, PCU Officers of Alyat, Aktau, Kuryk, Turkmenbashi seaports, Altynkol dry port and the Air Cargo Control Unit at Almaty international airport had improved their knowledge on the basis of the WCO European Regional Office for Capacity Building, located in Baku. The workshop helped the participants to better identify risk indicators and types of offences in strategic trade area, and increased awareness on export control issues, including overview of international embargoes and sanctions, UN best practices in combating transit/transshipments fraud, provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution #1540 against the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. 

The UNODC partner, the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, presented Risk Report Database – an open-source tool helping governments to manage strategic trade control and to investigate suspicious cases related to proliferation of the weapons of mass-destruction (WMD) worldwide. In turn, members of PCUs and ACCU had an opportunity to share their experiences on criminal intelligence and implementation of export controls at the national level, as well as successful cases in detecting high-risk consignments at the sea ports, railways and airports.  

The workshop constituted a part of capacity-building activities under the CCP’s Caspian Sea initiative, aimed at enhancing container/cargo control through Port Control Units in the Caspian Sea region, and reinforcing the practical interaction among the PCUs, operating at Aktau, Kuryk, Turkmenbashi, and Alyat sea ports.

The CCP Regional Segment for Central Asia is funded by 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.