WCO begins discussions with the Eastern African Community members for the development of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Regulatory Management of Joint Inspections for Environmentally Sensitive Commodities under Customs Stewardship

22 December 2023

On the 20th to 23rd November 2023, the WCO in collaboration with the Basel Convention Secretariat, conducted a workshop on the “Regulatory Management of Joint Inspections for Environmentally Sensitive Commodities under Customs Stewardship” for the Sida-WCO TFCM Programme beneficiary countries in the East African Community (EAC) region. The workshop aimed to discuss the adoption of a standardized inspection approach for goods and substances regulated by the Basel Convention and the Montreal Protocol, and the development of a draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for regulatory joint inspections between Customs and respective national environment agencies.

The four-day event emphasized the important role of Customs administrations in managing the security and safety requirements associated with environmentally sensitive commodities including the recommended international best practices and procedures promoted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Basel Convention Secretariat (BCS). The presentations and discussions addressed critical areas of operational management, such as; the handling of abandoned containers or cargo at the points of entry and subsequent disposal or destruction of the hazardous materials and substances, existing communication mechanisms that best promote collaboration between relevant stakeholders, safety requirements and recommended reporting mechanisms.

The participants benefitted from the workshop by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the operational policies and requirements associated with joint regulatory inspections, furthermore, initiatives promoting collaboration between stakeholders and sensitization related to the Basel Convention and Montreal Protocol were also presented during the event.

The workshop activity is part of the Sida-WCO TFCM Programme contribution to the WCO Green Customs Action Plan. The Programme is collaborating with the WCO Environment Programme and relevant international environment organizations to provide technical assistance for the beneficiary Customs administrations in the EAC and SADC regions to address the trade related issues that adversely affect the environment while implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

For more information on the Sida-WCO TFCM Programme, kindly contact: capacity.building@wcoomd.org.