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WCO Delivers Training on Planning Customs Enforcement Operations in Countering Illicit Wildlife Trade

16 mars 2016

Under the auspices of the WCO INAMA Project, a training workshop on planning Customs enforcement operations was delivered in Dar es Salaam from 29 February to 3 March. The event was hosted by the Tanzania Revenue Authority, with delegates attending from the Customs administrations of Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

This training complements other Inama Project layers, including Controlled Deliveries, Intelligence Analysis and Institutional Assessments. The emphasis of this layer is to enhance Operations Planning competencies of Customs managers, as well as those involved in Joint Investigative Teams (JITs). Consistent with Inama Project goals, scenarios were linked to actual wildlife poaching and smuggling cases in Africa. Participants analysed major seizure data and identified trends in wildlife poaching and smuggling and how this information can assist law enforcement in Intelligence based enforcement actions.

Dr. Samuel Wasser, Director of Conservation Biology and CITES expert, University of Washington, presented the impacts of illegal wildlife trade on African nations. He gave the example of the killing of 33,000 elephants a year, which could lead to possible extinction of the natural heritage devastation to the ecosystem of Africa. This is because more than 30 other species will cease to exist if the elephant population is destroyed. The loss of tourism was estimated to be $USD1.4 billion. The University of Washington’s research has found that 72% of all seizures originate from Mombasa, Kenya, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, Tanzania seaports. This is an important link to Customs intelligence-driven enforcement operations.

The significance of the workshop was underlined with the attendance of Mr. Vinny Spera, Acting Deputy Ambassador, US Embassy, Tanzania. He spoke to participants (coincidently) on World Wildlife Day, stating that ivory and other wildlife poaching was a top priority of the US Ambassador to Tanzania. He thanked the WCO and the participants for this important training. He also informed the workshop that Tanzania was given four ivory sniffer dogs earlier in the day to help the Tanzanian Customs efforts.

The principles and phases of enforcement operations planning were discussed with the focus on how to develop an intelligence-driven enforcement operation plan, how to implement it effectively and how to manage forensic elements of sampling seizures to ensure apprehension and prosecution of suspects.

The WCO is grateful to the U.S Department of State for funding this specific training event.

For more information on the Inama Project, contact Mr. Marco Foddi at Marco.Foddi@wcoomd.org.