Container Control Programme launches pioneering Women’s Professional Development Programme

10 September 2021

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme Women’s Network launched its professional development training course for women Customs officers by organizing its first edition online from 2 to 27 August 2021, in partnership with the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University.

Through four intense weeks, 58 women Customs officers from 11 countries from the Pacific, South and Southeast Asia regions were trained in and discussed leadership management techniques, cooperation and collaboration at national and regional levels, networking approaches, how to deal with challenges and stress, future developments in Customs as well as other topics related to professional and personal development.

Addressing the training participants, John Brandolino, UNODC Director for Treaty Affairs said: “When women lead, we all win. I am sure you agree that it is time for a reset. The UNODC is listening to you, and we are committed to empowering more women to lead.” 

The Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Ricardo Treviño Chapa, added that “we all agree that, over the decades, women have proven their competencies and qualifications to manage Customs activities both at the operational and managerial levels. However, we still need to do more progress. We are aware that Customs, similarly to other national law enforcement agencies, is still very much a male-dominated profession.”

Throughout the training sessions, participants had the opportunity to engage with speakers from universities, governments, policy institutes, and law enforcement leaders from around the world, and they tabled a Commitment Statement outlining future actions to be taken to strengthen women’s leadership. A key outcome was to develop and expand professional networks.

Coinciding with the training, the CCP announced two new CCP Champions for Change, Avani Nissanka, Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Sri Lanka Customs, and Michelle Bond, Acting Inspector of the Australian Border Force. These officers were instrumental to the design, organization and delivery of the course, and to the work of the CCP more broadly.


The CCP Women's Network is dedicated to advancing the role of women Customs officers working for the CCP. It is hoped that the success of the Women's Professional Development Programme will open up new and inspiring avenues to continue furthering this goal.