16 July 2020 - Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with the resulting travel bans and quarantine measures, the Container Control Programme (CCP), managed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO), has been seeking to continue its support to and cooperation with Port and Air Cargo Control Units across the globe. Several options have been tested to continue the scheduled training activities in CCP participating countries.
As a first step, an assessment of the situation in all operational countries was made to identify the impact by the COVID-19 lockdown for staff, to verify the percentage of officers working from home, to ensure that social distancing measures are in place and to check the internet possibilities in the respective countries. Based on the feedback provided, a number of pilot countries were identified to pioneer the CCP online training.
The first online training was initiated with Bolivia, followed by Colombia and Viet Nam. The first online pilots of the CCP received excellent support from the General Directorate of Viet Nam Customs, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, Cambodia Customs, Bolivia Customs, Police and SENAPI, Colombia and Afghanistan.
The experiences made have been very encouraging. The online training facilitated sharing of first-hand information about drug trafficking situations between countries and regions and the CCP will continue to support all countries currently participating in the programme and reach out via online channels to new countries joining the Programme.
To date, 130 online CCP trainings have been completed with 1361 officers were trained online. Certainly, such virtual training cannot fully replace face-to-face training delivery by the CCP training experts and staff, but it will be an additional option also for the future to intensify cooperation and collaboration with partnering countries.