The World Customs Organization (WCO) welcomes The Hague Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué released on 25 March 2014 by the 53 countries participating in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS 2014) which took place in The Hague, Netherlands from 24 to 25 March 2014.
Discussions during the nuclear security forum focused on three critical objectives: the reduction of dangerous nuclear material globally; improvement in security of all nuclear material and radioactive sources; and the enhancement of international cooperation.
The communiqué directly links to the vital role Customs administrations play in mitigating nuclear threats by combating the trafficking and smuggling of nuclear, WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) related materials and other strategic trade control items that cross borders, and also the contribution of the WCO through its instruments, tools, programmes and coordination platforms.
The communiqué stressed “the vital importance of using all tools at our disposal to locate and secure nuclear material out of regulatory control, including effective export control arrangements and law enforcement mechanisms, to regulate nuclear transfers and counter illicit transfers of nuclear material”.
Participating countries also underscored their commitment to sharing information, best practices and expertise in relevant areas such as nuclear detection, forensics, law enforcement, and the development of new technologies to enhance enforcement capacity of customs personnel, and encourage States to expand information-sharing, including through the WCO, regarding the illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials.
In 2012 the WCO launched the Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Project which provides Customs administrations worldwide, for the first time, a common platform to facilitate cooperation and communication in nuclear and other WMD related matters.
"The WCO is committed to supporting its Members efforts to prevent non-state actors from gaining access to nuclear and other WMD related materials by enhancing border security through new and innovative tools and technologies; partnerships; and enhanced cross-border operational coordination" declared Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO.
The STCE Project, which operates as part of the wider WCO Security Programme, has been enthusiastically received by WCO Members as well as the wider international community. One of the recent highlights of the project has included the development and distribution of a comprehensive implementation guide on strategic trade controls enforcement which was designed for use by Customs administrations. Following the NSS, the WCO will organize a global seminar for Customs organizations at its Headquarters in Brussels on the topic of strategic trade controls and enforcement. The seminar has been scheduled for April 2014 and all WCO Member States are invited to attend the event.