The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, met the Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Mr. Masafumi Ishii, at the Headquarters of the WCO in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday 22 February 2017 for the exchange of a Note Verbale on the contribution by the Government of Japan to fund the implementation of the ‘Security Project’ in the Asia/Pacific region.
Global terrorism poses a variety of challenges, not only to the security and safety of people, but also to economic development and political stability, making it imperative for Customs administrations to further strengthen their efforts to secure borders and protect the international supply chain.
“Our new Customs counter-terrorism initiative demonstrates the collective determination of the Customs community to effectively fight global terrorism and its negative impact on the international trade,” said WCO Secretary General Mikuriya. “This initiative enables us to actively support Customs administrations and other relevant stakeholders in the region to implement all necessary measures to further secure the supply chain and combat terrorism,” he added.
H.E. the Ambassador, Mr. Masafumi Ishii, stressed that Japan attaches great importance to cooperation in the field of countering terrorism, particularly the WCO’s efforts towards strengthening border control and security to prevent illegal and destructive cross-border activities. Moreover, he emphasized that the funded projects would render much deeper and stronger cooperation and mutual trust not only with the WCO, but also with Asia/Pacific Members. In conclusion, he wished the WCO every success with the projects.
At the G7 Summit held in Ise-Shima, Japan on 26 and 27 May 2016, the Leaders adopted the “G7 Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism,” which made specific mention of the WCO Security Programme as a means of enhancing border security and assisting WCO Members to counter the threat posed by terrorists and other criminal organizations.
In line with the G7 Action Plan, to further expand the reach of the WCO Security Programme, the WCO, with financial support totaling seven million US dollars from the Government of Japan, has decided to launch a new initiative for Customs administrations in the Asia/Pacific region, specifically focusing on border-security-related challenges in South East Asia.
The key components of this new Customs counter-terrorism initiative include:
- the continued use of the WCO’s Programme Global Shield (PGS) as a vehicle to reduce terrorist organizations’ ability to obtain improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including the diversion of chemicals and other parts used in their manufacture;
- the utilization of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) to perform effective risk analysis on passengers, in order to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and other terrorist groups;
- a reduction in the ability of all terrorists to obtain small arms and light weapons (SALW).