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WCO Secretary General addresses International Partners at the 8th Meeting of the Global Counter-Terrorism Compact Coordination Committee

09 juin 2022

On 8 June 2022, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) attended the 8th Meeting of the Global Counter-Terrorism Compact Coordination Committee hosted by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). The Counter-Terrorism Compact brings together 40 United Nations entities as well as the Parliamentary Union, INTERPOL and the WCO to coordinate the international communities’ efforts to counter terrorist threats.

Following the opening remarks by UN Secretary General António Guterres and UNOCT Under Secretary General Vladimir Voronkov, other heads of global compact entities were given the opportunity to make interventions regarding their organizations involvement in countering terrorism at the global level.

During his intervention, Secretary General Mikuriya highlighted the WCO’s efforts to strengthen Customs institutional response to terrorist threats in Africa, including the Organization’s work on countering trafficking in weapons and IED components as well as its efforts to counter terrorist financing.

Dr. Mikuriya also shared the work that had been done on the “Secretariat Note on the role of Customs in fragile and conflict-affected situations” which was published earlier this week. The Secretariat Note is a summary of WCO’s research on fragile borders, which has been conducted in Middle Eastern and African countries since 2016 as part of the WCO Security Programme.

The presence of armed groups in fragile border areas can cause significant disruption to international trade, security and the functioning of Customs in these regions. The Secretariat’s Notes highlights the specific issues that are found in these regions and proposes several recommendations for tackling these issues.

Among the key recommendations presented in the Secretariat’s Note, six were highlighted : (1) the need to assess the financial and security needs to defend Customs infrastructure from terrorist attacks and/or repair any damages caused by conflict; (2) take into account the specific needs of border areas which may not necessarily be part of major trade routes; (3) ensure a fair trade system which is accessible by all; (4) make sure that humanitarian aid can cross borders smoothly and efficiently; (5) allow Customs to play a key role in security by ensuring they have the necessary enforcement powers; (6) make sure that capacity building plans are based on countries own needs and demands rather than being driven by any donor agenda as ownership is a key component of any successful capacity building efforts.