Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on Environmental Issues concludes successfully

A Workshop on Green Customs matters was conducted from 23 to 27 April 2018 at the WCO Regional Training Centre in Shanghai, China with 60 Customs officers from 20 different WCO Member administrations in attendance. The event was sponsored by China Customs and co-organized with the WCO, who also acted as the facilitator.
This important regional event was opened by China’s Vice-Minister for Customs, H.E. Mr. Zou Zhiwu, who, in his keynote speech, stressed China’s support for WCO operations. He expressed the wish to see all Customs administrations, especially those in the Asia Pacific region, join forces in combating the scourge of illegal waste shipments and other “green” Customs-related offences.

Environmental issues are of great concern in the region, therefore the sharing of best practices and remaining up-to-date on the latest developments in Customs policies is of paramount importance. Discussions during the Workshop ranged from the detection of illegal waste shipments to the prevention of illegal wildlife trade, with the main objective of raising awareness on these matters.

Given that China has banned the import of 24 types of waste as of January 2018, the Workshop took the opportunity to pay special attention to issues related to illegal waste and chemical shipments. Experts from the Rotterdam, Basel and Montreal Protocol Secretariats, as well as INTERPOL and UN Environment and the Green Customs Initiative, attended the event.

Among the key outcomes of the Workshop was the finalization of the operational plan for Operation DEMETER IV, a global operation aimed at combating illegal waste shipments.