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Customs administrations of the Americas and Caribbean receive support to strengthen their capacities to fight illicit wildlife trade

28 septiembre 2023

In the first half of September 2023, the WCO Environment Programme carried out two workshops back-to-back in Santiago, Chile, to strengthen the capacity of the Customs administrations of the Americas and Caribbean to enforce the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and combat illicit wildlife trade (IWT).

The first workshop gathered 22 participants from 12 Latin American Customs Administrations. It was organized under the auspices of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and the WCO INAMA Project, and conducted by the WCO Environment Programme IWT expert, with the support of an expert from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Participants were required to undertake practical exercises and group work which aimed at enhancing their general knowledge and skills on the enforcement of the CITES provisions and at identifying ways to better address the challenges they face in their daily work. The workshop emphasized the importance of leveraging information exchange mechanisms and establishing stronger connections between administrations. As the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for South America (RILO SA) is to play a critical role in this regard, the Head of the RILO was invited to the workshop and explained how to use the available WCO enforcement communication tools, such as the Customs Enforcement Network (CEN).

In her opening address, Ms. Alejandra Arriaza Loeb, National Director of the Chile Customs administration, also underlined the importance of the collaboration between the various national Customs administrations in the same region in order to enhance the efficiency of initiatives implemented in the fight against Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT).

The second workshop, which gathered 8 participants, aimed at selecting candidates from South American INAMA beneficiary countries, namely Brazil, Guyana and Peru, to be accredited as IWT Technical and Operational Advisors (TOAs). TOAs are highly competent experts, capable of organizing and delivering capacity building activities on behalf of the WCO Secretariat. The workshop covered various topics related to the enforcement of the CITES provisions, IWT and training delivery techniques, and participants were evaluated not only on their level of expertise but also on their presentations and training skills.

Here again, the importance of cooperation and exchange of information between law enforcement agencies at the national and international level was highlighted and existing WCO tools explained.

This workshop was conducted by a WCO IWT expert, with the support of an expert from the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), which is the CITES Administrative Authority in Brazil. A representative of the Chilean CITES Administrative Authority (CONAF) was also present and shared information on how the Authority is organized, and on its role and functions.


ICCWC is a collaborative effort between the WCO, the CITES Secretariat, INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank. The Consortium aims to bring coordinated support to the national wildlife law enforcement agencies and to the sub-regional and regional networks that, on a daily basis, act in defence of wildlife. The WCO activities under the ICCWC Programme are funded by the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. For more information, please visit the ICCWC webpage.

About the INAMA Project

As part of the WCO Environment Programme, the INAMA Project aims to strengthen the enforcement capacities of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by targeted Customs administrations in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Asia in relation to IWT. The Project is funded by the United States Department of State and currently has two sub-projects, “INAMA Global” and “INAMA India”, with activities focusing on enhancing understanding of the illicit wildlife trade phenomenon and training capacity, improving risk management and case selection capabilities, fostering interagency and international cooperation, and strengthening operational capacities. The current phase of the Project will run until the end of September 2023. For more information, please visit the INAMA Project webpage.

For information on the Environment Programme, please contact