South-Eastern Europe enhances cooperation in border management through joint operations

27-28 September 2022, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP), jointly organized a regional meeting on “Customs Cross-border Cooperation in the Western Balkans” for Customs Administrations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to review the results of bilateral operations on countering illicit goods trafficking conducted over 2021 and 2022.

The delegations discussed the various modalities for bilateral and multilateral operations in relation to the existing trends of trafficking and shared information about new and anticipated threats that will be relevant for the region. Based on the shared experiences and results achieved, several lessons learned and good practices were identified for an improved and effective border management, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between jurisdictions to facilitate communication and cooperation among law enforcement authorities, as well as the establishment of contact points in customs administrations for information exchange.

The regional meeting was also attended by the officials from HM Revenue & Customs, the United Kingdom's tax, payments, and customs authority, a Customs Attaché from the French Embassy in Serbia, a Customs Attaché from the German Embassy in Croatia, and a representative from the Universal Postal Union.

This activity is part UNODC GFP project HALT supported by Germany, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, France and Norway, and the EU through UN’s Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Trust Fund and the EU-UNODC joint action on enhanced border control implemented by the UNODC CCP and AIRCOP in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and generously funded by the European Union.