International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

25 June 2022

On 26 June every year, the World Customs Organization (WCO) joins the international community to mark the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with the objective of strengthening action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse. People all over the world will join in to observe this special occasion to help raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs pose to society.

The theme of this year is “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises”, which aims at addressing transnational drug challenges stemming from situations of crisis. In 2022, the world continues to witness widespread humanitarian crises, while the COVID-19 pandemic is still a major global health crisis. The synthetic drug crisis also requires nimble and adaptable solutions. A growing sense of global community and solidarity continues to emerge, as does the need to care for all in times of crises.

“The delivery of humanitarian assistance is crucial during crisis situations and its effectiveness depends to a large extent on how quickly it can be delivered. On the other hand, Customs needs also to control goods and ensure that illegal drugs are not entering national markets. With time as key part of the equation, it is imperative that administrations strike the right balance between their facilitation and control roles”, said Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General. “The WCO has developed a specific programme to support Members in addressing the challenges they face with illegal drugs crossing borders as well as a wide range of instruments and tools to guide them in case of humanitarian supplies, so they can expedite clearance, while ensuring the protection of society”, he added.

International coordination and cooperation are pivotal to tackle the threat imposed by drug trafficking. The challenge faced by Customs and its partner agencies is very serious, this is why the WCO has set up a Drugs and Precursors Programme which aims at countering global illegal trade covering the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug restriction and prohibition laws. The Programme consists of several major components as follows:

  • EU-WCO COLIBRI Project
  • UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme
  • Project AIRCOP
  • Global Canine Forum
  • WCO-INL-CBP Capacity Building Project of Canine Fentanyl Detection
  • Operational activities

In addition to the above projects and activities, a cooperation project will be launched by the WCO in collaboration with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) on the illegal trafficking of drugs in the mail channel. It is expected that this initiative will enhance Customs' expertise in targeting high-risk shipments and improve international cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking through mail consignments.

The WCO reaffirms today its commitment to fight against organized crime in order to make the world a better place for all and for future generations and it is counting on the active participation of its Members to combat illicit drug trafficking as part of Customs' commitment to protect consumer health and safety, while dealing effectively with criminals involved in this illicit and dangerous trade.