Launching Ceremony of the WCO Regional Dog Training Centre in Korea and WCO Virtual Workshop on Canines for the Asia/Pacific region

16 June 2021

On 8 June 2021, Korea Customs Service (KCS) convened the virtual launching ceremony of the World Customs Organization (WCO) Regional Dog Training Centre (RDTC) in the Republic of Korea. This ceremony was followed by the WCO Virtual Workshop on Canines for the Asia/Pacific (A/P) region, held from 8 to 10 June 2021.

Following approval by Members from the WCO’s A/P region, in February 2021 the WCO and KCS completed the signing process of a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the new WCO RDTC, with a view to providing Customs officials in the region performing canine-related duties with high-quality training facilities and professional training programmes.

In his congratulatory remarks, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, highlighted the importance of detector dogs for Customs’ enforcement missions. He underscored the fact that the global network of RDTCs was a valuable asset for the Customs community, enhancing Members’ capacity to use detector dogs in the fulfilment of their enforcement missions and to share best practices at regional level. Strengthening the regional network of canine experts would send out a strong signal about the high level of professionalism in the region and would serve as a useful tool in the fight against organized crime.

Following the virtual launching ceremony of the WCO RDTC in Korea, the WCO Virtual Workshop on Canines for the A/P region took place from 8 to 10 June 2021. The event was organized by KCS in cooperation with the WCO Secretariat and the WCO Asia/Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB A/P), together with financial support from the Customs Cooperation Fund of Korea (CCF/Korea).

In his opening remarks, the WCO’s Director of Compliance and Facilitation, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, stressed that canine units were of paramount importance to Customs’ work and were widely used in a variety of enforcement areas, such as passenger profiling, cargo clearance and ship rummaging to name but a few. The three-day Workshop proved useful in keeping participants up-to-date with the latest activities carried out in the A/P region and, more specifically, canine enforcement ones.

The Workshop was aimed at enhancing Members’ canine enforcement capacities in order to fight the smuggling of dangerous and contraband items. It also served as an effective regional platform for Members to share best practices and address common challenges by suggesting appropriate solutions. It covered a wide range of topics related to canine enforcement, including the pooling of Members’ experience on detector dog training, currency detection, wild animal detection, breeding programmes, etc.

The Workshop successfully concluded with an active discussion and productive exchange of ideas and viewpoints among the 40 or so participants. The WCO Secretariat, in cooperation with KCS and the ROCB A/P, pledged to continue providing support to its Member administrations in the area of canine enforcement.