Compliance and Enforcement

22 October 2019

New Publications

Security Programme

Strategic trade

Under the Strategic Trade Controls Enforcement (STCE) Programme, the following training events were organized:

  • 13 national workshops (Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Tajikistan, Togo, and Tunisia);
  • 1 training workshop for countries in the Western Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia);
  • 2 train-the-trainer workshops aimed respectively at English and Russian-speaking officials interested in being accredited as STCE Expert

To date, 14 WCO Members have informed the Organization that their accredited trainers are delivering STCE events in their countries, whilst a further five Members have licensed the STCE training material from the WCO for use in their national training academies or programmes.

The Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Implementation Guide which is available in five languages has been updated and will be translated into four additional languages.

Small arms and light weapons (SALW)

Regarding SALW, three train-the-trainer workshops were conducted for nine countries in South East Asia. Accredited trainers then conducted national training workshop in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand where officers from law enforcement agencies joined their Customs counterparts for all or part of the training. These Customs administrations subsequently participated in two WCO coordinated operations targeting illicit shipments of SALW and during which four seizures of weapons and ammunition were made as well as drug seizures.

In June 2019, a two-year EU funded SALW project was launched in partnership with the Small Arms Survey and INTERPOL. The project looks to increase the capacity of members in the Middle East and North Africa region to restrict illicit arms movements.

Passenger controls

Two workshops on air passenger controls that focused on the use of advance information received from airlines (i.e. API and PNR) were organized for countries in South East Asia and the Pacific. Participants also addressed techniques used in baggage examination and in the questioning and search of persons. In addition, they learned how to use behaviour analysis and body language interpretation to identify high-risk passengers. Similar training was carried out in Uganda.

The WCO also supported Maldives Customs in the deployment and use of the Global Travel Assessment System (GTAS), to collect advance passenger information (API) and passenger name record (PNR) data. It also carried out several missions in South East Asia, as part of the Asia Pacific Security Project, to assess the possibility of deploying the tool in those countries.

Explosive precursor chemicals

Under Programme Global Shield (PGS), an initiative aimed at building capacity to counter the illicit trafficking and diversion of explosive precursor chemicals and other components contained in improvised explosive devices (IEDs), three train-the-trainer courses were conducted for 59 officials from South East Asia gathering. The accredited trainers of Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines and Myanmar already reported having delivering courses to a total of 170 officials.

Three operations were coordinated by the Secretariat, the first one being a pilot operation that took place in Bangladesh and the two others which followed gathering in total nine Customs administrations of South East Asia.  Five seizures of explosive precursors were reported together with drug and weapons seizures.

Several trainings were held for countries of East Africa and the MENA region.

Two train-the-trainer workshops were organized for countries in the WCA region, which raised awareness on IEDs and related components as well as terrorist threats in the region. The workshops also included practical training on using equipment (spectrometers, field kits, etc.) as well as WCO tools such as the nCEN.


Some countries participating in the Asia Pacific Security Project were also given equipment. A total of 65 Raman Spectrometers, 19 Backscatter X-ray devices, 8 XRF precious metal analyzers and 1030 PGS Field Test Kits were distributed over the two-year life of the Project. In addition, anti-smuggling and inspection officers were trained on the usage and safety features of these technical devices.


Under PGS, an enforcement operation was conducted in Bangladesh. Moreover, INTERPOL and the WCO organized two other operations targeting bulk cash smuggling and arms trafficking: Operation TRIGGER MENA and Operation NEPTUNE II.

Terrorist financing

In conjunction with INTERPOL and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Japan, a one-week anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing workshop was conducted in Japan, with 26 administrations from the Asia/Pacific region participating in the event. An enforcement operation, code-named TENTACLE, was conducted as a follow-up to this workshop. A similar workshop was also organized by the WCO for countries in the MENA region.

Regionally focused security projects

The Asia Pacific Security Project (APSP) that commenced in March 2017 ended in June 2019, and many of the workshops and activities reported above relate to this Project. The West and Central Africa Security Project (WCA-SP) began in April 2018 and a scoping mission was held in participating countries to assess the terrorist threats that they face, and effectively define countries’ needs in terms of technical assistance, training and capacities (for example, equipment).

Revenue Programme

Post-clearance audit (PCA)

Together with the review of existing tools, PCA capacity building activities focused on hands-on training for system-based audits. An advanced PCA Package has been developed for auditors who already have basic knowledge on the PCA concept – exercises deal with audit planning, analysis of Customs data, review of business information, use of audit templates such as a systems questionnaire, audit reports, etc.

The Package also includes case studies on irregularities such as undervaluation, misclassification, origin fraud, and industry-specific issues. The Package was piloted in South Africa, where a systems-based audit approach was adopted in 2010 as part of the development of its Preferred Trader Programme.

Officers not acquainted with auditing practices can refer to the e-learning modules available on the CLiKC! platform or peruse the WCO PCA guidelines, and may attend an introductory workshop on PCA. Such a workshop was conducted in Armenia, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu, to help these countries develop their PCA capacities.

Diagnostic missions were delivered in Cameroon, Jordan, Qatar, Palestine, Pakistan, and Tonga. Additionally, a joint PCA and risk management diagnostic mission, the first of its kind, was conducted for Armenia and Eswatini. Based on the successful results of these missions, similar joint activities are being considered for the future. The WCO also participated in a PCA training event organized by the Netherlands Customs administration for representatives from China Customs.

Risk Management and Intelligence Programme

A Risk Management Diagnostic Tool has been developed, enabling a comprehensive review of a Customs administration’s risk management policy, strategy and infrastructure (including implementation) to be undertaken. The tool will be submitted to the Enforcement Committee in March February 2020.

With regards to capacity building activities, the WCO supported 27 of its Members to enhance the application of risk management in their respective administrations. Training was provided to officers in Algeria, Bahamas, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, Uzbekistan Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in countries of the Pacific Ocean Islands, namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Diagnostic missions to identify the strength, weaknesses and gaps in risk management systems and practices were carried out in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Eswatini and Guyana.

Drugs and Precursors Programme

Project AIRCOP

Twenty-two Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs) are currently operational under Project AIRCOP, a project managed in conjunction with the UNODC and INTERPOL, which aims at strengthening the capacities of international airports to detect and intercept drugs and other illicit goods as well as to detect high-risk passengers, including foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs).

The teams regularly receive training, and their risk analysis capacities were once again tested during the running of Operation COCAIR VII. The creation of a JAITF in Costa Rica and in Cuba is also being considered, and an assessment mission has already been carried out in these countries.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP)

The CCP is a joint initiative between the UNODC and the WCO. Port Control Units (PCUs) established under the CCP are, at present, fully operational at more than 80 ports (including dry ports) in 50 countries. An integral and essential element of the CCP is to facilitate networking amongst the PCUs thanks to the WCO ContainerCOMM system, which provides the necessary infrastructure for the swift and secure exchange of information and intelligence electronically.

A separate joint programme on air cargo control has been deployed in 14 airports in various regions, with 4 countries scheduled to join the segment in the next months.

PCU and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCU) are regularly trained and, since 1 July 2018, 194 training activities on different techniques have been delivered to further develop their skills. In 2019, specific training on the illicit trade in timber in Latin America and Southeast Asia was launched.

Air cargo experts

As more and more WCO Members request training in targeting techniques in the air sector and in light of the many WCO programmes that now focus on this mode of transport, the WCO organized an accreditation workshop for experts in the profiling of high-risk passengers and cargo. Eight experts were accredited and will be able to support the WCO Secretariat in delivering capacity building activities in this area.

IPR, Health and Safety Programme

Eleven capacity building activities were delivered, taking the form of six regional or national seminars (Bahamas, Ghana, Senegal, and ASEAN Members) and five diagnostic missions (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Georgia, Laos, and Myanmar).

WCO experts also facilitated and/or supported more than 10 workshops held by other organizations such as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the US Patent Office (USPTO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OiE) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the UNODC/WCO Container Control Programme (CCP).

One regional operation, code-named MIRAGE, was coordinated by the WCO over a nine-day period in 14 African countries, resulting in the interception of around 20 million substandard or fake products, the vast majority of which related to pharmaceuticals. In addition, WCO experts actively supported the annual global operation against illicit medicines, known as Pangea, which is led by INTERPOL.

The WCO also participated in the International Conference entitled “Respect for IP: Growing from the Tip of Africa” organized by WIPO in South Africa. An article highlighting some of the discussions held at the event was published in the February 2019 edition of WCO News.

Environment Programme

Operation DEMETER IV

DEMETER IV, which targeted illicit trade in hazardous waste, was conducted from 4 June to 8 July 2018 with the participation of 73 Customs administrations. Nine countries reported 134 seizures for a total of over 164,000,000 kg of hazardous waste. A formal de-briefing event was conducted in November 2018, during a workshop on environmental issues hosted at the WCO Regional Training Centre in Shanghai, China.

INAMA Project

Launched in October 2014, the INAMA Project aims to strengthen the enforcement capacity of targeted Customs administrations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, while focusing on the illegal trade in wildlife, particularly endangered species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

A first support mission was held in Togo to assess its enforcement capacity when it comes to species covered by the CITES and the fight against illegal wildlife trade, and to provide advice on the way forward. Monitoring missions were also carried out in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Tanzania and Uganda to measure the implementation of the activities set out in the Work Plan developed in a previous stage as part of the Project, and to draft recommendations. In addition, WCO experts provided support to Mozambique and Sri Lanka in developing a training course on CITES and illegal wildlife trade as part of their national training curricula.

Furthermore, a tool to evaluate risk management capacities in relation to illicit wildlife trade was developed. It was used to evaluate Malawi and Vietnam’s Customs administrations. Detailed assessment reports containing recommendations to be followed by both countries were elaborated.

Moreover, three workshops jointly organized with INTERPOL and aimed at strengthening operational inter-agency cooperation were held: one for Sub-Saharan African countries speaking English or Portuguese, another for those speaking French, and a third for Asian countries participating in the Project. Operation PRAESIDIO followed these events. Additionally, the WCO and INTERPOL joined forces to organize Operation THUNDERBALL, still with the same objective to strengthen Customs/Police cooperation.

Cultural Heritage Programme

The approach that was tested in the MENA region in 2017, where issues of security, development, and protection of cultural heritage were addressed together, was also used in the West and Central Africa (WCA) region. A workshop was first organized to analyse the security situation in the region, identify gaps in awareness and the skills of the Customs officers, and draft recommendations. On the basis of these outcomes and using the Training Handbook on the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage (PITCH), training was then delivered.

A PITCH training event was also held in Cuba, under the auspices of the UNODC/WCO CCP Programme. In partnership with the OSCE, the Secretariat also organized training for four countries of Central Asia. It also contributed to the UNESCO-Carabinieri cross-border training for Romanian and Moldovan authorities, as well as to the Cultural Heritage Workshop for Iraqi Customs, law enforcement and security agencies organized by the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) in Baghdad.

Moreover, fieldwork research was conducted in Burkina Faso and Niger. The results of this fieldwork have provided critical knowledge for the enhancement of the training provided in the region, and for feeding discussions at a strategic level.

Besides conducting training, the Secretariat staff contributed to the joint Customs/Police enforcement operation, code-named Pandora III, alongside INTERPOL, Europol, the Spanish Guardia Civil and Dutch Police. They provided operational coordination and analysis and developed a seizure report template compatible with CENcomm to ensure the harmonization of seizure reports by both Customs and Police.

The number of persons using the ARCHEO platform is growing. It currently has 270 users from almost 100 countries compared to 236 users from 90 countries in the previous reporting period. ARCHEO is used both to send alerts and warnings on possible trafficking as well as during investigations to support enquiries relating to the identification of cultural objects.

Another outcome of the work of the Programme is a growing number of requests by countries for cultural objects seized by Customs administrations to be restituted to them, request which received the support of the WCO.

Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures (COPES) Programme

The COPES Programme covers issues relating to border security, collection of evidence, seizures, investigations, and prosecutions. Although not all Customs administrations have judicial investigation powers, they are intended to be beneficiaries of the Programme as an integral part of the Customs criminal chain. To overcome these legal and administrative differences, the programme targets staff from various enforcement agencies working at the border (Customs, Police and other agencies).

Training material has continued to be developed and now covers a very broad spectrum, ranging from an introduction to main enforcement concepts, to financial investigation, to criminal investigation techniques, and prosecution-related matters.

Over the 2018/2019 period, several trainings were organized at the request of Customs administrations, including administrations providing training themselves to foreign colleagues, or at the request of the managers of WCO enforcement programmes related to drug, environment and cultural goods, and of the Container Control Programme.

To be more specific, four awareness raising regional seminars gathering senior managers were organized, fourteen regional or national technical workshops for frontline officers and prosecutors, as well as two train-the-trainer workshops. Moreover, a capacities assessment was undertaken in one country.

Albania, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kosovo, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montenegro, Niger, Peru, Senegal, Thailand, Togo and Tunisia benefited from the COPES Programme.

WCO tools

The CEN suite

The CEN suite includes three stand-alone applications, namely the Customs Enforcement Network (CEN), the National CEN (nCEN) and the CEN communication platform (CENcomm), which are compatible and complementary in nature – each supporting Customs with the digitalization of operational processes in the enforcement field.

During the 2018/2019 period, the nCEN was deployed in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Senegal, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Serbia and Pakistan. The tool has been implemented in 35 countries, with 15 deployments planned in the months ahead. It has been improved with the addition of an automatic selectivity capability, enabling the system to automatically show connections between different cases (database entries) based on the nominal data fields and some narrative data fields. Further training on the system and on data analysis was also provided to the Seychelles and to the Philippines.

CENcomm remains a popular tool. During the 2018/2019 period, the communication platform was used during 92 operations as well as in the framework of several projects. A modernized version of the CENcomm application has been developed in order to improve the user interface, to enhance the security features of the application, to provide an offline working solution in light of frequent internet problems in different parts of the world, to assure compatibility with mobile devices, and to introduce functionality improvements to allow for better management and interoperability with other CEN applications.

WCO Cargo Targeting System (CTS)

The WCO CTS enables user countries to capture advance electronic cargo manifest information, and to perform risk assessment, profiling and targeting. To date, the CTS’ maritime cargo capability has been deployed in 11 countries: Bahamas, Chile, Georgia, Jamaica, Kenya, Maldives, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine. In addition, the CTS’ air cargo capability has been finalized and deployed in these countries.

During the 2018/2019 period, WCO experts worked to finalize the deployment of the tool in Kenya, assessed the implementation of the tool in Sri Lanka, trained trainers in Jamaica and the Maldives, and visited the Seychelles to plan the deployment of the tool.

Electronic Crime

New guidance material has been published: “Computer Investigation Guidance 2018,” “Emerging Technologies Impacting Customs,” and “Digital Device Examination Guidelines for Border Officials.”


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