Launch of the Green Customs Guide on the occasion of the 26th Session of the WCO Enforcement Committee and the 3rd meeting of the Green Customs Partners Initiative
Brussels (Belgium) 2 March 2007
Mr. Shende as representative of the UNEP
Dear colleagues, partners, friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
One of the remarkable trends these days is the increased awareness of the need to preserve our precious environment. Actually, a few days ago a film entitled “An Inconvenient Truth” won this year’s Oscar for a documentary feature. This is a documentary on former US Vice President Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide. He suggests that we work together to fix the problem we created. Naturally, the Customs community is expected to make a contribution to this global issue.
In fact, we have already been engaged in this joint effort to respond to the challenge of climate change. The Sky Hole Patching Project, led by the Asia-Pacific RILO, is one concrete example of what we can do at the regional level. When I participated in last year’s Customs DG meeting for Latin America, Venezuelan Customs drew the attention of the meeting to “An Ecological Customs” in a wider context. There are many other national and regional initiatives for preserving the environment. At the global level, the WCO catered for a range of relevant environmental standards in its legal text and explanatory notes when it updated the Harmonized System and introduced HS 2007. Regrettably, there are reported flows of illicit trade that infringes the Montreal Protocol, the Rotterdam Convention, the Basel Convention, the CITES Convention and chemical weapons in a larger sense. Now it is necessary for Customs administrations to effectively enforce border control based on global environmental and customs standards.
In this respect, we are fortunate to be part of the partnership on the Green Customs Initiative with the UNEP and others. I would like to express my deep appreciation at the launch of the “Green Customs Training Guide”. With this valid partnership, the Customs community is committed to enhancing the joint network for the fight against environmental crime.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Kunio Mikuriya, Deputy Secretary General, WCO