REN Update

The Regional Green Customs Workshop in Asia & Pacific Held in Seoul
13 November 2015

The Regional Green Customs Workshop in Asia & Pacific: Enhancing the Capability of Customs Officers to Address Environmental Crime was jointly organized by the World Customs Organization Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (WCO RILO/AP) and UNEP supported by Green Customs Initiative in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 10-13 November 2015. The workshop was attended by 40 participants including customs officers from 20 countries in Asia-Pacific representatives from 5 Green Customs Initiative (GCI) partners including UNEP, World Customs Organization, CITES Secretariat, Basle, Rotterdam and Stockholm  Conventions Secretariat and Ozone Secretariat. The countries participating in the workshop included Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.  The workshop comprised of 4-day with the first three days for training with presentations and group discussions along with the last day for the site visits to the Incheon Seaport Customs House to observe how import/export cargos are processed from the Green Customs perspective and a landfill place.


In his opening speech, Head of RILO AP, Mr. Seungho Hwang welcomed all participants and highlighted the importance of customs’ role in Green Customs Initiatives which was developed to facilitate a legitimate trade of environmentally regulated goods while controlling illegal trade by sharing experience and best practices of risk management of illegal trade. Dr. Wanhua Yang on behalf of UNEP and GCI delivered a keynote address highlighting that environmental crime recently reached an alarming stage and involving organized crime and terrorist group scale. The nature of the challenge had been reflected in high-level international conferences including Rio+20 and recognized in decisions of the UN General Assembly, INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, and UNEP. She placed great emphasis on the important role customs officers in tackling the transboundary environmental crime and the needs for mainstreaming environment issues into Customs affairs and close cooperation with Customs authorities.


Presentations on introduction of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), transboundary environmental crimes and risk profiling techniques were delivered at the workshop. Hands-on sessions also took place during the workshop; scenario exercises on detecting shipments of ODS and chemicals/waste, seizure case studies by China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka were followed by group discussions on effective enforcement mechanism through partnership between various entities. This practical session provided substantive knowledge and expertise for fighting trans-boundary environmental crimes to customs officers.


REN has facilitated the organization of this workshop and presented progress of regional enforcement on combating illegal trade in chemicals and waste, and delivered a joint presentation on revitalizing Operation Sky Hole Patching together with RILO A/P.