International cooperation to improve trade security supported in South-Eastern Europe

10-12 May 2022, Port of Piraeus, Greece: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) facilitated a study visit to the Port of Piraeus in Greece for 12 customs and police officers of the Port Control Unit (PCU) Bar, Montenegro, and the PCU Bijaca, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This study visit tackled  all forms of trafficking and provided the necessary capacity building for the PCUs and customs and police administrations in the South Eastern European (SEE) region to combat this threat.

During the three-day study visit, the Greek customs and police officers provided insight into their work at the Port of Piraeus to their counterparts from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina who had an opportunity to see the x-ray scanners used in the Port and their operation, in addition to the physical inspection of containers by specially trained dogs.

The delegation went on to visit the Drugs Department of the Hellenic Police in Athens, where the Chief of the Drugs Department, presented operational tactical measures and actions of the Greek Police in the pre-investigation procedure, communication with the Prosecutor's Office, and undercover surveillance measures and their proper use.

During the visit all participants exchanged on the structure and operation of their respective administrations, and shared experiences and knowledge applicable to enhancing border control capacities in the region. On this occasion, a case of seizure of cigarettes was presented by the Greek counterparts, an illegal cargo of cigarettes disguised as a shipment of printing paper which revealed to be the subject of an ongoing investigation conducted by the officers of PCU Bar. This demonstrated the importance of information sharing and the overall significance of UNODC's efforts in supporting the authorities of the region in strengthening trade security, and border controls.

This study visit was a continuation of efforts to enhance the capabilities of SEE in addressing border security threats. The activity has been implemented within the EU-UNODC action on promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports, funded by the European Union and implemented by AIRCOP and CCP in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly SDG Target 16.a on strengthening relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.