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Directors General of French-speaking Customs gather in Gabon to enhance their network

27 octubre 2011

Directors General of French-speaking Customs gather in Gabon to enhance their network

Libreville, 25-26 October 2011


At the invitation of Director General Fridolin Onguinda of Gabon Customs, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the 17th Conference of Directors General of French-speaking Customs that took place in Libreville, Gabon from 25-26 October 2011. Customs delegates from 22 French-speaking countries as well as representatives from international and regional organizations participated in the debates. The event was opened by the Prime Minister of Gabon, Paul Biyoghe Mba, and chaired by Director General Onguinda. Round table discussions took place around four key areas: sustainable development, the Customs-business partnership, Customs efficiency and performance, and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

The first round table recognized Customs’ role in protecting the environment for sustainable development where various Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) with provisions on trade control exist. Secretary General Mikuriya moderated the lively discussion, identifying five areas that were found to be indispensable: raising awareness on Customs’ role, the legal framework to empower Customs, better coordination between Customs and competent authorities at national level, international cooperation through information exchange, and capacity building for Customs officers on the ground. In this connection, he explained the Green Customs initiative and capacity building activities, particularly the organization of regional operations to combat illicit traffic in endangered species and fake medicines.

The second round table underlined the importance of the Customs-business partnership with participants sharing their experience in this field. There was broad agreement that the partnership approach could be effective in the fight against counterfeiting, through the use of the WCO's Interface Public Members (IPM) tool. Other round table discussions also contributed to the exchange of experience and various views including the enhancement of the network among Customs officers sharing the French language. Participants also agreed on the need to enhance the use of French in WCO activities.