Asia/Pacific Regional Green Customs Workshop, Republic of Korea

27 November 2015

The first Green Customs workshop took place between 10 and 13 November in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The workshop was a joint initiative of Members of the Green Customs Initiative (GCI) and the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO A/P), and was sponsored by the Korea Customs Service.

More than 30 participants from Customs Administrations throughout the Region, the WCO, UNEP, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat, as well as the Secretariats of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, attended the workshop to discuss best practices in addressing environmental crime threats.

The objective of the Workshop was to enhance the capacity and partnerships of Customs to prevent the illegal trade of environmentally sensitive commodities and to facilitate the legal trade of such commodities.

The issue of Multilateral Environmental Agreements was explored in depth by representatives from the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions - CITES and UNEP. The WCO provided information from a global perspective on the role of Customs in combating environmental crime, and presented the various tools and instruments available to Members, such as ENVIRONET, to assist in their efforts in fighting environmental crime.

The leading role that Customs have to play at borders in addressing environmental crime was emphasized throughout the workshop, and it was agreed that a renewed focus on information exchange to confront the increasingly complex and well-organized illegal trade in environmentally sensitive commodities would be beneficial. Working closely with the WCO, Members of the Asia/Pacific Region have elevated environmental crime to top priority status within the Region.

The Secretary General of the WCO, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, congratulated all participants, noting that this Green Customs workshop demonstrated the commitment of the WCO and Members of the Asia/Pacific Region to combating environmental crime - an issue of utmost importance - and resolved to continue advocating in this area with the support of all stakeholders.