Fifteen Years of a Strong Partnership for Green Customs
In December 2020, the thirteen partners to the Green Customs Initiative (GCI) came together virtually to reflect on their 2019-2020 activities, which supported national action and international cooperation on environmental crime prevention. This meeting marked fifteen years of sustained and successful collaboration between the GCI partners, including United Nations entities, secretariats to major multilateral environmental agreements and international organizations involved in biodiversity governance, chemicals management, international customs and trade, and their enforcement. During the two-day meeting, partners discussed recent achievements of their collaboration under the GCI. These included enhanced training on green customs for front line and customs officers in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in Kenya, and the development of knowledge materials (updates to the 2018 GCI Guide to MEAs, and GCI eLearning courses). Partners additionally provided updates on their activities between 2019 and 2020 that related to the GCI, including the development of harmonized codes and other various knowledge products, as well as capacity building trainings. In a special session on the COVID-19 pandemic, partners had an honest discussion regarding the impact of the pandemic on their day-to-day work (for example, trainings now delivered virtually), but most importantly on their respective areas of competence, as the pandemic has shown the potentially adverse consequences of trade in environmentally sensitive commodities, especially wildlife and healthcare waste. In light of these consequences, the partners committed to strengthen their coordination to ensure that customs and border control officers are properly equipped to safeguard their countries’ environmental and human health. Looking ahead in 2021, partners resolved to remain resilient and to continue to cooperate and exchange information through a joint action plan. The next annual partners meeting will be held end of 2021. For more information, contact Aphrodite Smagadi at Aphrodite.firstname.lastname@example.org or Jackline Wanjiru at Jackline.email@example.com.