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Viet Nam joins the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 9 February 2015
- Viet Nam became the second country in ASEAN to formally join the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme today in a Signing Ceremony held at the headquarters of the General Department of Viet Nam Customs in Hanoi.

Addressing the delegation Mr. Nguyen Duong Thai, Deputy Director General, said, "the Global Container Control Programme will provide training to improve the capacity of customs officers at Hai Phong Port to detect and deal with seized goods in order to improve security and reduce the risk of drugs, weapons and explosives trafficking"

He further went on to add that he hoped this would serve, "as a model and a solid basis to expand this Programme not only in Hai Phong Port but also to other major sea, land and airports in Viet Nam."

Over 500 million sea containers transfer 90% of world cargo across the globe every year with over half of these containers originating from, in transit through or destined for the countries of Southeast Asia. Traffickers exploit the sheer volume of this trade to conceal and transport illicit goods in the hope they will evade detection.

"This is a historic moment for Viet Nam, reconfirming its commitment to counter illicit trafficking of goods across its borders," noted Ms. Zhuldyz Akisheva, UNODC Country Manager, who went on to recognise the financial contribution from the Government of Canada that had made this possible.

"There remains a clear risk of weapons of mass destruction, their related materials, or delivery systems falling into the wrong hands. No country or region is immune to the potential impact of this threat as state proliferators and non-state actors continue to take advantage of legitimate international trade systems to illicitly acquire these goods. We must work diligently and collectively to combat this global threat," stated Ms. Ayesha Rekhi, Charges d'affaires at the Embassy of Canada on the occasion of the Signing Ceremony.

The Global Container Control Programme is a joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organisation (WCO). Launched in 2004 in response to the organised crime and human security threats posed by the maritime movement of illicit goods in sea containers, the Programme operates through the establishment of specialised Port Control Units (PCUs) securing the global supply chain.

In the first 10 years of operation PCUs established by the Programme have seized over 95 metric tonnes of cocaine, 2.9 metric tonnes of heroin, 60 metric tonnes of cannabis and 1,200 metric tonnes of precursor chemicals used to manufacture both illicit drugs and explosives.

Within 2015 the Global Container Control Programme will be operating in 52 countries of the world. The 5 ASEAN countries of Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are next slated to join the Programme through the financial contribution of the Government of Canada (Global Partnership Program) and the United States of America (Export Control and Related Border Security Programme).