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Customs’ role highlighted at a UN High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism

01 julio 2021

In the WCO’s capacity as a member of the United Nations (UN) Counter Terrorism Coordination Compact, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at a UN High-Level Conference, held virtually in New York on 29 June 2021, to highlight the contribution of the WCO and global Customs community to combating terrorism.

During the session on addressing challenges, chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the UN, H.E. Mr. Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Secretary General Mikuriya stressed that there had been a shift in Customs’ priorities from revenue collection towards focusing more heavily on security in regions such as West and Central Africa where terrorist attacks and armed insurgencies were becoming a widespread scourge.  Without first ensuring security, it would be difficult for Customs to facilitate trade or collect revenue at borders.

Dr. Mikuriya underlined the importance of using technology for Customs controls, especially technology based on advanced electronic data analysis and non-intrusive inspection images for risk management purposes.  He acknowledged that criminal and terrorist groups also make use of technology, before sharing, as example, some of the results of recent WCO-coordinated operations aimed at detecting counterfeit and substandard medicines and medical goods in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Customs administrations around the world having seized millions of illicit items purchased online and shipped as small parcels.

Secretary General Mikuriya added that Customs should not operate in isolation but rather with society in general.  He therefore underscored the importance of gender equality and diversity to promote inclusiveness within Customs administrations, though this approach also required private sector support.