Genoa (Italy), 5 October 2022 – In one of Italy’s busiest ports, customs officials from Southeast Asia and Italian Customs jointly inspected containers of metal waste that had been illegally arranged to be shipped to Thailand – an example of a larger trend in waste trafficking.
Asian officials traveled from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam - major destinations for trafficked waste. Italian Customs officials explained methods being deployed to detect illegal shipments in the 2.78 million twenty-foot containers that move through the Port of Genoa each year.
Three days of meetings and exchange (3–5 October) preceded the port visit. Southeast Asian officials visited Brussels and Genoa and have established a foundation for stronger cooperation between the European Union and ASEAN countries to address waste trafficking.
Expanding cooperation between the two regions is a goal of the Unwaste project and part of UNODC’s objective to combat waste trafficking and support a circular economy.
“Given the transnational nature of waste trafficking, international cooperation is critical,” pointed out Yatta Dakowah, Representative and Chief of the UNODC Liaison Office Brussels.
The officials from Southeast Asia met with specialists from the EU Directorate–General for Environment, the European Anti-Fraud Office, Europol, the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law, the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats, the World Customs Organization, as well as from Dutch and Italian authorities.
“The European Union recognizes we need to better understand these illicit flows while working together with our partner countries to ensure that we are capable of detecting and preventing shipments. These exchanges on regulations and procedures are essential to improve our compliance and enforcement,” highlighted Nelson Jorge, Team Leader at the European Union’s Foreign Policy Instrument.
Organized by the Environment Team of UNODC, the visit facilitated information sharing between authorities of the four ASEAN countries and relevant European Union regulatory and enforcement agencies to develop a better understanding of regulations and procedures, as well as starting a dialogue on shortcomings in exporting and receiving destinations of illicit waste shipments. Importantly, the countries and agencies will meet again in 2023 to further advance cooperation and practical measures.
Click here to learn more about the Unwaste project
Click here to learn more about UNODC's Regional Programme for Southeast Asia
Click here to learn more about UNODC’s Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment
Unwaste is implemented by the UNODC Environment Team in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and benefits from the financial support of the European Union.