WCO Addresses UN 1540 Committee

10 February 2016

At the invitation of the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations in New York and Chair of the UN 1540 Committee, Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi , Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya addressed the UN 1540 Committee at UN Headquarters in New York on 9 February 2015.

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1540 in 2004. The Resolution obliges States to control the development, acquisition, manufacture, possession, transport, transfer, and the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems.

Secretary General Mikuriya outlined the work of the WCO, with a particular focus on illicit trade and security. Mr Mikuriya referred to the development of standards, the value and necessity of information exchange, and the establishment of best practice as a means to achieve the objectives of the WCO. In the context of security he referred to the SAFE Programme, work underway with several international organisations, the WCO Security Programme, and the recent Punta Cana Resolution on Security.

Outlining the key components of the WCO Security Programme including the Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement which includes training, regional awareness raising and operational capability such as operation Cosmo, identification of precursor chemicals and their potential use in IEDs (Programme Global Shield), Small Arms and Light Weapons control, passenger controls and terrorist financing, the Secretary General spoke about how the WCO assisted its Members to develop risk management capabilities, information exchange systems, and operation coordination in order to fully implement and benefit from the Security Programme. 

Members of the Committee engaged with the Secretary General in a comprehensive session of questions and answers on aspects governing the practical application of Resolution 1540.

In conclusion, the Committee and the Secretary General noted the relevance of Resolution 1540 to the work of the WCO and agreed that Customs are best placed to monitor and control the export of commodities addressed in the Resolution. The complementarity of the roles of the 1540 Committee and the WCO and the importance of enhancing the regional delivery of the goals of the Resolution with the continued involvement of the WCO were also emphasized.

Furthermore, the Committee acknowledged the necessity of the inclusion of national Customs administrations in the assessment of a Member’s capacity to implement the Resolution, although this was entirely a matter for Members.

The Committee expressed its appreciation for the work of the WCO and the excellent cooperation that exists between the 1540 Committee and the WCO.