COLIBRI Project: fourth expert coordination meeting to be held in Brussels from 25 to 29 October 2021

25 October 2021

The COLIBRI project, a joint initiative by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the European Union (EU) on monitoring and controlling general aviation along the cocaine route, is holding the fourth expert coordination meeting from October 25 to 29, 2021, at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium).

Twenty five experts will gather from three different continents, marking another important achievement and opening a new chapter of the Project. The meeting will be held in-person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

This expert coordination meeting is of significant relevance as it will allow experts, who have been providing the online foundation training on general aviation monitoring and control, to discuss results, outcomes, achievements, and best practices to be included in the next phase of the course according to countries’ specific needs.

In outline, the meeting will start with an analysis of the security threat posed by general aviation. During the first two days, the experts will present their contributions on the most salient topics that officials in the field will have to deal with. The last days of the meeting will be dedicated to the use of the Geoportal and its functionalities as well as the consolidation of the practical training programme and the transfer of know-how to the expert trainers.

It should be noted that the expert coordination meeting will be attended for the first time by members of the French National Gendarmerie as well as experts from the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC), a European Law Enforcement unit with military support which coordinates anti-drugs maritime and air operations. The presence of these two new organisations in the meeting is a key step for the COLIBRI project, to further strengthen efforts in gathering intelligence and enhancing cooperation towards the operational phase of the Project which will take place over the course of 2022. 

Overall, between July 2020 and September 2021, the experts provided online foundation training on monitoring and controlling general aviation to six countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, these courses were also delivered in five countries from the West Africa (WA) region: Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. In numbers, the online training was followed by 203 officials in LAC and 153 in WA, and their instruction will be complemented by a practical in-person training for the remaining part of 2021 and over the course of 2022.