The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme outperforms in difficult times

29 October 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic poses various and difficult challenges for the private and public sectors across the globe. Global programmes such as the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) with its 59 participating countries are also seriously impacted by this crisis since the physical presence of training experts in the partnering seaports and airports is practically impossible for the time being due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures.

For this reason, the first CCP online training seminars were initiated at the beginning of May 2020 and were well received by the officers in the field. Since then, this channel to reach out to the frontline staff was further developed and geared towards the needs of the partnering countries and the capabilities of the trainer staff to cover the full range of the CCP training on countering illicit trade in strategic goods, drugs, counterfeit products, protected species of fauna and flora and other special topics, including a new training course on X-ray image interpretation. From May to October, more than 200 CCP online training events were organized.

These continuous efforts of the CCP teams at the WCO and the UNODC were positively rewarded by the officers of the Port Control Units (PCUs) and Air Cargo Control Units in the participating countries. As at 28 October, the seizures of cocaine in 2020 accumulated to approximately 78.3 tonnes (the total amount in 2019 was 77 tonnes). There were also numerous detections of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as large consignments of chemicals for drug production, among others.  The seizures of 750 kg of Captagon from Syria in Ukraine and the biggest cocaine seizure in Paraguay’s history of 2.9 tonnes of cocaine mark the latest achievements by the officers cooperating with the CCP. The President of Paraguay personally congratulated the staff of the PCU in Asunción for the outstanding result of their risk profiling activities.

The CCP teams in Brussels and Vienna will continue to support international cooperation and collaboration in the fight against illicit trade in all its forms. While the virtual mode will still prevail, the teams are looking forward to meeting with its partners in person as soon as the situation permits.

More information on the Container Control Programme is available via the link: