COLIBRI project: the WCO and AFIP sign a Memorandum of Cooperation

10 January 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Federal Administration of Public Revenue of the Argentine Republic (AFIP) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to strengthen their partnership, under the COLIBRI Project, on monitoring and controlling General Aviation.

The MoC was signed by the WCO’s Head of Administration and Personnel, Mr. Hans Pieters, on behalf of the Organization’s Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, and by the Director General of Customs of Argentina (DGA), C.P and Abog. Guillermo Michel, on behalf of AFIP.

The MoC lays the foundations for, and formalizes the collaboration between the COLIBRI project and DGA/AFIP. It also sets out the active engagement by DGA/AFIP towards training activities aimed at strengthening officials’ capacities to control this sensitive vector. The MoC frames the scope, objectives and means of collaboration between the parties, and outlines the importance of information sharing and of interagency and international cooperation, in order to help achieve the Project's aims and make a tangible contribution to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

The WCO Secretary General, Dr. Mikuriya, emphasized that “General Aviation is one of the most important and dynamic means of transport worldwide, and its characteristics make it attractive to organized crime for perpetrating their illegal activities. The WCO Secretariat, the European Union (EU) and national law enforcement services and other competent authorities from 15 countries are working together to secure this means of transport and better protect our societies.” He added: “I commend this joint international effort and look forward to a future where General Aviation will be controlled and monitored in the same way as Commercial Aviation.”

The Director General of DGA, C.P and Abog. Guillermo Michel, pointed out that “the increased use of General Aviation, and the need to enhance international and inter-agency cooperation in order to fight more effectively against irregular activities at national, regional and International level, led DGA/AFIP to join the COLIBRI Project. We are committed to using our resources and building our capacities to achieve our common objectives.”

DGA/AFIP has shown an exceptional degree of involvement in the Project. Together with the Gendarmerie, Airport Security Police, Naval Prefecture and various Directorates of the Ministry of Security, DGA/AFIP is working actively towards the successful implementation of the Project’s activities in an effort to provide officials with the necessary skills to perform effective controls and analyse trends and routes to ensure greater monitoring of General Aviation use and activities.

The COLIBRI Project is implemented by the WCO Secretariat and funded by the European Union (EU). The Project is part of the Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP) of the EU. It supports 15 partner countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay), and in West and Central Africa (Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal), and involves 78 law enforcement services and authorities supervising or regulating the general aviation sector.

COLIBRI is a unique initiative. By providing national administrations with capacity-building resources and a dedicated Geospatial Platform, the Project enables them to address the root causes of the challenges and threats posed by General Aviation, namely: lack of awareness of the issues surrounding General Aviation, lack of expertise to conduct controls, and lack of data to give a clear picture of the threat in the regions covered by the Project.