WCO continues to support the delivery of PGS Training despite the challenges

03 August 2020

The WCO Security Project for West and Central Africa supported the delivery of a national Programme Global Shield (PGS) national training course for Central African Republic (CAR) from 6 to 8 July 2020.

With travel restrictions resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic preventing WCO Experts from being able to join the training in person, they were able to support the delivery of the course virtually from WCO headquarters in Brussels.

The training followed two regional PGS ‘train the trainer’ workshops delivered by the Project in Ouidah, Benin in June and August 2019.  Officials from CAR participated in that training, acquiring the skills and knowledge to in turn deliver the PGS training to their colleagues in CAR Customs.

The CAR training course focused mainly on the material regularly used by criminals to manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), including chemical precursors and detonators.  The training also covered risk assessment, customs controls, labeling and detection methods and the range of WCO tools and services.

11 CAR customs officers from different border crossings (airports, ports, land border crossings and mobile units) gathered in Bangui main customs office to participate in the training.  They actively participated in the training and successfully completed polls conducted after each session. The implementation of PGS in CAR was also discussed during the training.  This included the deployment of a Raman Spectrometer and disposable PGS Field Test Kits donated to the CAR Customs by the WCO with funding from the Government of Japan. This equipment allows officers to accurately identify precursor chemicals for IEDs in the field, without having to wait for laboratory testing.

The WCO Experts provided the participants with access to presentations, documents, videos, PGS pocket guides and brochures and they have undertaken to share what they have learned with their colleagues. CAR Customs have also committed to delivering additional national training courses to further enhance their capacity to address the threat of terrorism.