Programme Global Shield

Throughout the recent years the world has become a witness to increasing incidents of the use of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) beyond the conflict zones. IEDs are the most prevalent form of explosives employed by terrorists around the world particularly because the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture them are cheap and widely available.

In a unique initiative to secure global supply chains and enhance public safety, the WCO has partnered with INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and launched Programme Global Shield. This Programme aims at prevention of smuggling and illicit diversion of precursor chemicals that could be used to build IEDs.

Started in November 2010 as a 6-months project, the achievements and importance of Programme Global Shield led the WCO to endorse it as a long-term endeavour. Customs Administrations from more than ninety countries are now sharing information on 14 precursor chemicals used for IEDs. Through this unprecedented effort of the international community, the threat posed by these dangerous precursor chemicals is now being seriously addressed. Along with training, technical assistance, real-time information and intelligence sharing that Programme Global Shield entails, its participants and partners are now better equipped to interdict the illicit diversion of these precursor chemicals. The information on the latest seizures of precursor chemicals can be found at the annual Illicit Trade Report. The WCO continues to urge all Programme participants and partners to aggressively pursue criminal activity associated with the illicit diversion and trafficking of these materials.

The overall objectives of Programme Global Shield are to:

  • Promote cooperation among Customs and Police Administrations in combating the illicit diversion of precursor chemicals;
  • Raise global awareness of the increased threat posed by precursor chemicals;
  • Engage with private industry players to establish best practice programmes to avoid illicit diversion of precursor chemicals;
  • Train Customs officers in the detection/handling of precursor chemicals;
  • Identify and seize illicit shipments of precursor chemicals and communicate these seizures to other Programme participants;
  • Initiate investigations and other enforcement activities regarding illicit shipments (backtracking investigations);
  • Identify and share best practices to combat the illicit diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals used to manufacture explosives;
  • Monitor and track legitimate shipments of precursor chemicals to identify the patterns, diversity, and extent of licit international trade; and,
  • Facilitate legitimate trade in precursor chemicals through risk-based targeting.

For more information regarding Programme Global Shield, please contact globalshield@wcoomd.org.