WCO delivers CITES and Cultural Heritage trainings in Cuba within the framework of the WCO-UNODC Container Control Programme

28 February 2019

In the framework of the WCO-UNODC Container Control Programme (CCP), the WCO held two specialized training courses on CITES and PITCH (Preventing Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage) for the Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at José Martí International Airport in Havana and Port Control Unit (PCU) in Mariel seaport. The training was conducted from 11 until 22 February and consisted of a theoretical part and mentoring at the airport and the seaport respectively. Sixteen officers participated in the courses, delivered by the WCO trainers in cooperation with the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (National CITES Management Authority) and Cuban National Register of Cultural Objects.

The CITES training covered such topics as the overview of the CITES Convention, identification of fraudulent CITES documents, health and safety when dealing with wildlife and wildlife products and Customs enforcement techniques. Being an important nod for biodiversity conservation in West Indies, the work of Customs and other agencies in this area of enforcement is of high importance not only nationally but also regionally.

Cuba is the first country in the Americas region that received the specialized WCO PITCH (Cultural Heritage) training. The objective of the training was to raise awareness of the threat stemming from illicit trafficking of cultural objects and to provide the ACCU and PCU officers with operational tools and instruments for their work in the airport and seaport environments. 

The PITCH training included modules on the identification, handling and documentation of cultural objects, the use of international and national databases, and operational exercises.