Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) Programme Global Shield

In the past decades, there has been a growing prevalence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) worldwide. These devices are favored by different armed groups due to their cost-effectiveness and widespread availability of materials for their production. In 2010, the World Customs Organization (WCO) took a significant step in enhancing global supply chain security and public safety by introducing the Programme Global Shield (PGS). This initiative focuses on monitoring the legitimate movement of 13 key chemical explosive precursors and additional materials commonly used to manufacture explosive devices, with the goal of combating their illegal trafficking and diversion. Initially established in collaboration with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the noteworthy accomplishments and significance of PGS prompted the WCO to designate it as a long-term commitment. The significance of Programme Global Shield has been recognized even by the United Nations, which has called upon all nations to actively engage in and endorse this initiative

Today, PGS is running in partnership with INTERPOL and the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Customs administrations of more than a hundred countries are sharing information on explosive precursors and other materials used to manufacture IEDs which have been seized or imported/transited or exported to/through/from their countries. Along with training, technical assistance, respective analysis, operational exercises, real-time information and intelligence-sharing, PGS enables its participants and partners to be better equipped to interdict the illicit diversion of these materials in the supply chains.

The overall objectives of PGS are to build capacity among Customs officers on dual-use explosive precursors and additional IED components, improve their capabilities in respective risk assessment and profiling, as well as detection of these items in the supply chains. Reaching these objectives includes raising global awareness on the threat posed by explosive precursors and other dual-use materials that can be used to manufacture IEDs; promoting cooperation between Customs and Police authorities in this area of enforcement; organizing trainings across the globe both on the national and regional levels; informing Member administrations of the latest trends and patterns in the field through quarterly PGS analytical products and seizure data sharing and analysis; engagement with industry partners to establish best practice programmes to avoid the illicit diversion from their supply chains; and supporting investigations and other enforcement activities in regards of the identified illicit shipments.

Relevant tools

PGS Pocket Identification Wizard
To improve capabilities, especially at Customs border crossing points (BCPs), PGS devel-oped the Pocket Identification Wizard (PIW) to provide frontline staff with specific infor-mation on chemical precursors and additional IED components, as well as respective safety instructions when dealing with such materials.

PGS detection kits
PGS assisted with the development of chemical test kits and is promoting solutions to ena-ble Customs frontline staff to quickly decide whether chemicals tested are explosive pre-cursors or not. These tools are able to enhance safety and security at borders and along the supply chain.

Raman Spectrometers
Subject to the availability of project funds, PGS is able to provide Raman Spectrometers for the professional detection of precursor chemicals at main Customs border crossings.

Relevant instruments

PGS permanent secure communication platform (CENcomm)
PGS Members are regularly sharing relevant information (e.g., seizures) on precursor chemicals and related materials used to manufacture IEDs through a permanent secure communication platform, and obtaining immediate replies to their requests.

PGS quarterly analysis
To enhance national and regional risk assessment and profiling, PGS is regularly compiling quarterly analysis on the IED threat, the trade of all monitored precursor chemicals and ad-ditional IED components as well as respective seizures. The analysis is shared with PGS members.

Cooperation with partner organizations
Information exchange is key to success in PGS. The WCO is continuously cooperating with all relevant stakeholders on PGS matters.


PGS frequently arranges operational exercises at regional or global levels to enhance ca-pabilities, promote collaboration among agencies, and apply lessons learned. Instances of these exercises include:


PGS CliKC e-learning module