Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Programme

Strategic goods encompass weapons of mass destruction (WMD), conventio­nal weapons, and related items involved in the development, production or use of such weapons and their delivery systems. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), adopted in 2004 to prevent the illicit trafficking and smuggling of WMD and related items, focuses on the need to develop and maintain appropriate and effective border, export, transit and transshipment controls. Despite the importance of combating illi­cit trafficking in strategic commodities and Customs’ role as the first and last line of defence at the national level, this remains a particularly challenging topic for Cus­toms. To address this challenge, the WCO has taken a number of measures.

In 2016 the ad-hoc STCE Project, started in 2013, turned into a long-term STCE Programme. With the advancement of the Programme, it now focuses on six fundamental areas:

  • Organization of STCE Train-the-Trainer workshops for the accreditation of experts.
  • Delivering STCE trainings based on the WCO Training Curriculum.
  • Operation of the STRATComm communication platform on a 24/7/365 basis.
  • Organization of further STCE-related law enforcement operational exercises.
  • Enhancement of industry outreach at the global and national level.
  • Development of STCE seizure reporting in the CEN System.

The STCE Programme has conducted fifteen Accreditation Workshops in English, Spanish, French and Russian, with the WCO’s Accredited Customs Experts (ACEs) database now including well over 100 accredited and pre-accredited STCE Expert Trainers from over fifty countries spanning all WCO regions. The STCE Programme is also keen to promote gender balance through its accreditation process, and is making efforts in terms of reaching parity in the numbers of male and female accredited trainers.

The WCO has also directly conducted 36 national and regional trainings in the field of strategic trade control, and many more are being organized and delivered by STCE Accredited Experts in their home countries, with the use of the WCO Training Curriculum.

The WCO is also working together with other international organizations, such as the OPCW, UNODC, UNLIREC, IAEA, Interpol and OECD, to assist in the delivery of their non-proliferation and export control themed events focusing on WMDs, to a mixture of audiences including (beyond Customs), police, licensing, other governmental agencies, and sometimes even the private sector.

As part of the STCE Project, the WCO drafted a comprehensive STCE Implementation Guide, which is regularly updated, to assist its Members with developing, reviewing and implementing their STCE processes and procedures, and to provide a framework for the training curriculum. The STCE Programme also collaborated with the European Commission and the Argonne National Laboratory in the drafting of the Strategic Trade Atlas (Online version and book version), developed to promote understanding of global trade flows of strategic goods.