WCO hosts 3rd General Aviation Meeting

03 July 2023

On 14 June 2023, the 3rd Meeting of the General Aviation Working Group (GAWG) was held at the World Customs Organization (WCO) Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting aimed to discuss matters related to combating organized crime activities in the general aviation sector.

This event was a collaborative effort by the EU-funded COLIBRI Project (WCO) and the Monitoring and Support Project for the Global Illicit Flows Programme (MASIF). It provided an opportunity to appreciate the value of employing a multi-agency and multi-country approach in the complex domain of General Aviation.

The GAWG was established as a platform to facilitate interactions among practitioners, enabling them to discuss challenges associated with General Aviation threats and identify common areas of interest and possible synergies. The Group aims to foster the exchange of experiences and good practices among specialists and explore ways to enhance joint operational work and deepen inter-agency collaboration.

The Meeting took place in a hybrid format and was moderated by representatives of the WCO, MASIF and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N). It brought together representatives from various European law enforcement administrations. The participants attended either in person or online, representing a wide range of aviation and law enforcement activities, thus bringing together complementary expertise.

During the 3rd GAWG Meeting, participants exchanged views on: (a) the functioning and objectives of the Working Group; (b) the challenges and latest trends identified in the use of General Aviation as a vector for criminal activities; and (c) good practices from Europe, Latin America and Africa.

There was also a discussion on the availability of open-source information and data to law enforcement agencies, and their utilization in General Aviation surveillance. The COLIBRI Project team introduced the topic by showcasing various analyses that could complement the data collected by the agencies. This led to interesting exchanges among the participants.

The Meeting concluded with a discussion on next steps and recommendations for the Working Group’s 4th Meeting, scheduled for December 2023. The positive interactions and momentum within the Group confirmed the importance and added value of bringing together practitioners from different backgrounds.

As we continue to address the challenges in the field of General Aviation, we look forward to further strengthening our collective efforts to enhance inter-agency coordination and make significant progress in achieving our mission.

For more information or any queries, please contact the COLIBRI team at colibri@wcoomd.org.