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Final evaluation of Operation Cosmo

09 octubre 2015

89 WCO Members, with the support of the WCO, its Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) network, and international partner organizations (INTERPOL, UNODC, UNODA, IAEA, and the OPCW) organized a major law enforcement operation to detect and prevent illicit trafficking of strategic goods in international supply chains from 1 May 2014 to 31 May 2015.  

Following the operational phases, the Cosmo debriefing seminar took place at WCO Headquarters from 6 to 8 October. 70 Members, 7 RILOs, along with INTERPOL, UNODC, IAEA and the OPCW gathered to examine and discuss the various operational findings and the future Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE)-related needs of the global Customs community.

The debriefing seminar outlined several policy recommendations which included the need for enhanced commitments and support for strategic trade controls enforcement by Customs, increased inter-agency cooperation between all relevant agencies, better STCE intelligence collection and targeting capacities, and enhanced capacity to perform commodity identification. Similarly, the need for enhanced reach-back infrastructure both nationally and globally, and increased emphasis on imposing effective consequences and sanctions on non-compliant entities, were flagged as critical areas for the future.

The added value of Operation Cosmo became evident through these discussions. The Operation has served to assist WCO Members by raising awareness around strategic trade controls. Furthermore, it enabled identification of good practices and gaps as well as opportunities for further multilateral and bilateral cooperation.

“Operation Cosmo was a unique and successful Operation that enabled participating countries to work together to deter the use of supply chains for trafficking in strategic goods. It directly contributed to the effective implementation of important international commitments, such as the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540” declared Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO. He also stated that “the WCO will continue to play an active role in supporting WCO Members with awareness-raising, training, intelligence and reach-back facilitation, and operational coordination.”  

Debriefing seminar participants requested that the WCO turn its ongoing STCE Project into a long-term capacity building, technical assistance, and training initiative. Participants reached agreement on a tentative programme and the WCO was requested to present the outcome, together with key seminar outcomes, to the 35th session of the Enforcement Committee in early 2015. The United States Department of State pledged its support for certain areas of the programme, and the WCO was encouraged to find additional donors in the interim to enable the full implementation of the identified activities. The debriefing seminar was closed by the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Sergio Mujica.