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Launching of the Container Control Program in Costa Rica

Limón, September 23, 2021. In a hybrid event, the Container Control Program (CCP) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was officially inaugurated at the Port of Moín, in Limón, Costa Rica.

In this event participated, virtually, the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Ambassador Rodolfo Solano Quirós; the Ambassador of Canada in Costa Rica, James K. Hill; the Regional Representative of UNODC, José Vila del Castillo; the Director of the Costa Rican Drug Institute (ICD), Sergio Rodríguez Fernández; the Director of the Costa Rican Customs Directorate (DGA), Gerardo Bolaños; the Director of the Fiscal Control Police (PCF), Jacqueline Soto Rivel; the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS), Jorge Torres Carillo; the Director of the Police in charge of Drug Control and Related Activities (PCD), Minister Michael Soto Rojas; the Director of the Border Police (PF), Eric Lacayo Rojas; among other Costa Rican authorities, representatives of the civil society and representatives of the private sector.

The UNODC Regional Representative, José Vila del Castillo, thanked the Costa Rican government for "the trust placed in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean as a strategic partner to combat organized crime".

"The Container Control Program aims to strengthen the capacities of national agencies responsible for security at ports and airports," Vila del Castillo explained.

He added that "this program reduces the possibility of drug trafficking and the smuggling of illicit goods such as chemical precursors, firearms, endangered species, nuclear materials, among others, while favoring the flow of licit trade".

The Representative stated that "this dual goal represents the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as they seek to substantially reduce all forms of violence and work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity."

"To achieve the objectives of this program, inter-agency Units are established to profile and identify high-risk containers, while fostering cooperation among national agencies and collaboration with the private sector," he added.

In his speech, Vila del Castillo added that "the members of these units are trained by expert trainers from the WCO and UNODC using a standardized methodology that can be adapted to the reality of each country, in accordance with the challenges presented at each port and airport.

He concluded by informing that "since its inception in 2004, CCP has seized more than 458 tons of cocaine and more than 827 containers of counterfeit goods. So far in 2021, this Program has conducted 29 training activities and has trained 1,134 officers at the regional level".

The President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, said that "having the CCP program is very important because one of our priorities is the fight against organized crime, as it is an affront to our democracy".

The President thanked UNODC "for training and connecting our team with a regional network to share practical information and thus be more efficient in the fight against organized crime".