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Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) Programme Global Shield

Throughout the recent years the world has become a witness to increasing incidents of the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). IEDs are the most prevalent form of explosives employed by terrorists around the world particularly because the materials 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 the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and launched Programme Global Shield. This Programme aims at monitoring the licit movement of 13 of the most common chemical precursors and other materials that could be used to manufacture IEDs in order to  counter their illicit trafficking and diversion.

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. Even the United Nations recognized Programme Global Shield and encouraged all countries to participate in and support it.

Today customs administrations from more than ninety countries are sharing information on precursor chemicals and other materials used for IEDs which have been seized or just imported / transited or exported to/through/from their countries. Along with training, technical assistance, operational exercises, real-time information and intelligence sharing Programme Global Shield entails for its participants and partners to be  better equipped to interdict the illicit diversion of these materials in the supply chain.

The overall objectives of Programme Global Shield are to:

  • Promote cooperation among Customs and Police Administrations in combating the illicit diversion of materials used to manufacture IEDs;
  • Raise global awareness of the increased threat posed by precursor chemicals and other dual use materials that can be used to manufacture IEDs;
  • Engage with private industry players to establish best practice programmes to avoid illicit diversion of precursor chemicals and other dual use materials that can be used to manufacture IEDs;
  • Train Customs officers in the detection/handling of IED materials;
  • Train trainers in all parts of the world in order for them to be able to deliver national or regional trainings.
  • Identify and seize illicit shipments of IED materials and communicate these seizures to other Programme participants and partner organizations through secure communication platform;
  • Initiate investigations and other enforcement activities regarding illicit shipments (backtracking investigations);
  • Identify and share best practices to combat the illicit diversion and trafficking of IED materials;
  • Monitor and track legitimate shipments of IED materials to identify the patterns, diversity, and extent of licit international trade; and,

Facilitate legitimate trade in precursor chemicals and other dual use materials that can be used to manufacture IEDs through risk-based targeting.