The WCO and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay renew their partnership to strengthen the control and monitoring of general aviation

07 April 2022

On 25 March 2022, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the National Customs Directorate of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay renewed their commitment by signing a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC). The signing ceremony took place in Montevideo on the sidelines of the 6th National Training Course on General Aviation Control, held from 21 to 25 March 2022.

This MoC represents a strong commitment to capacity building with a view to improving the control and monitoring of general aviation (GA), identifying avenues for cooperation and defining the terms for information exchange, as well as working in a coordinated manner with other enforcement authorities in order to achieve the objectives set by the Project.

The Director General of Customs, Mr. Jaime Borgiani said: “Today marks a renewed commitment to the COLIBRI Project. This WCO initiative, funded by the European Union, is of outstanding importance; its inter-agency approach, the capacity building programme and the new technology developed represent resources that are unique in terms of both their nature and scope. Today, once more, we are making a commitment to the Project and to the International Community, pledging to work with all partners to fight organized crime at the national, regional and international levels.” 

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya stated that the WCO greatly appreciated the renewed cooperation with the Uruguay Customs Administration under the project: “After two challenging years, marked by a global health crisis, this Memorandum represents an important milestone for all those who are engaged in protecting and promoting the Rule of Law. As our societies are under siege daily by the activities of organized crime, cooperation and coordinated actions remain our most powerful weapons against illicit trafficking. Together, we can ensure security and peace and protect our societies.”

The national administrations involved in COLIBRI have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Project during the first three years of its implementation.

The signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation marks a major step forward in strengthening the partnership between the authorities responsible for combating illicit trafficking in general aviation in the beneficiary countries and the WCO.

The COLIBRI Project is an initiative of the WCO, funded by the European Union (EU), and forms part of the EU’s Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP). The project focuses geographically on Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay), and on West and Central Africa (Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal).

In November 2021, the Project’s experts were able to return to the field to conduct face-to-face practical training sessions. The training course on control methodology and techniques held in Montevideo was the sixth one to be delivered by the team of experts. It was attended by some 30 officials from Uruguay’s National Drug Council (JDN), Customs Administration, Air Force, DINACIA, National Police and Naval Prefecture.

Pending further training in the use of IT tools for communication and coordination, the Uruguayan authorities responsible for combating illicit trafficking in private aviation now have a solid grasp of the knowledge and hands-on skills needed to carry out more effective controls.