WCO urges Customs administrations to actively secure borders from nuclear threats

27 March 2012

Brussels, 27 March 2012

Press Release

Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya, urges the Organization’s 177 Member Customs administrations to ensure that they take an active part in working towards strengthening nuclear security, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism, and preventing terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear material.

The WCO Secretary General’s call was made in response to the Seoul Communiqué issued by world leaders attending the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit with the theme “Beyond Security Towards peace” which took place from 26 to 27 March at the end of which they reaffirmed their shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Recognizing the key role played by the Members of the WCO and INTERPOL in combating illicit trafficking, world leaders have committed to working closely with the two organizations as they seek to strengthen cooperation among States, and encourage the sharing of information on individuals involved in trafficking offences of nuclear and other radioactive materials.

“The global Customs community shares the objective of global nuclear security with world leaders,” said the Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya. “Customs administrations are fully committed to playing a constructive role with other key international organizations to ensure a safer world for all by strengthening border controls and remaining vigilant to any forms of illicit traffic,” he added.

Customs administrations are able to respond quickly to threats posed by all forms of illegal trade, including movements of illicit nuclear and other radioactive material, by raising alerts through the WCO Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) which provides a platform for the secure and ready exchange of information and intelligence across the globe.

Leaders at the Summit also noted that several countries have passed export control laws to regulate nuclear transfers, and underscored the need to develop national capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to and prosecute illicit nuclear trafficking, while encouraging further use of legal, intelligence and financial tools to effectively prosecute offences, consistent with national laws.

The WCO actively collaborates with the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), having recently enhanced relations when the WCO Secretary General met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss various issues, including trade security and facilitation, protection of citizens from illicit trade, environmental challenges, inter-agency cooperation, and alignment of objectives for maximum impact.

Cooperation between the WCO, INTERPOL and other international partners is another priority area for the WCO, with all organizations harnessing their strength to collectively fight crime, including illegal nuclear activities, through the pursuit of enforcement operations targeting criminal gangs, covering a range of cross-border crimes, including drug trafficking, and counterfeiting and piracy.

More information

Seoul Communiqué 2012