The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme’s Women’s Network launched a professional development training course for women customs officers which it has delivered in partnership with the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University.
Through four activity-packed weeks, the 58 women officers from 11 countries in the Pacific, South and Southeast Asia were trained in building and maintaining meaningful working relationships, built on genuine trust and understanding which, as participants acknowledged, will be an essential tool they will be able to use in their professional and career development.
Addressing the training participants, John Brandolino, UNODC Director for Treaty Affairs said, “When women lead, we all win. I'm sure you agree that it's time for a reset. UNODC is listening to you, and we're committed to empowering more women to lead.”
The Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Ricardo Treviño Chapa, added that “[w]e all agree that over the decades, women have proven their competencies and qualifications to manage customs activities both in the operational and managerial level. However, we still need to do more progress. We are aware that customs, similar to other national law enforcement agencies, is still a male-dominated profession.”
Throughout the training participants had the opportunity to engage with speakers from universities, governments, policy institutes, and law enforcement leaders from around the world and they tabled a Commitment Statement outlining future actions to be taken to strengthen women’s leadership. A key outcome was to develop and expand professional networks.
Coinciding with the training, CCP announced two new CCP Champions for Change, Avani Nissanka, Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Sri Lanka Customs and Acting Inspector Michelle Bond of the Australian Border Force. These officers were instrumental to the design, organization and delivery of the course, and to the work of the CCP more broadly.
The Women's Network is dedicated to advancing the role of CCP women officers. It is hoped that the success of the Women's Professional Development Programme will open up new and inspiring avenues to continue furthering this goal.