UNEP Represents Green Customs Initiative at Chemical Weapons Convention
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) invited UNEP as a representative of the Green Customs Initiative to participate in a Workshop for Customs Authorities on Technical Aspects of the Implementation of the Chemicals Transfer Regime, held at OPCW headquarters in The Hague from 4 to 5 October 2005.
Eighty-two participants from fifty States Parties attended the workshop. In his opening address to the Workshop, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, the OPCW Director-General, welcomed UNEP’s participation for the first time in the Chemical Weapon Convention regime and hoped that such collaboration would help to improve senior customs authorities’ understanding of the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention(CWC), particularly those relating to the import and export of relevant chemicals.
Rajendra Shende, Head of the UNEP DTIE OzonAction Branch, World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the Port Authority of Rotterdam provided presentations on specific implementation-related issues, including addressing areas which would benefit from cooperation between the OPCW and the other international organisations dealing with chemical substances.
In his presentation, titled ‘UnCustomary Role of the Customs Official’ Mr. Shende shared UNEP’s experience with strengthening the capacity of customs officers under the Montreal Protocol. He stressed the importance of opportunities of working together in building the capacity of the Customs Officials related to chemicals controlled under MEAs and treaties such as the CWC. While OPCW can benefit from positive results achieved from the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the Montreal Protocol community could learn from the effective verification and destruction regime of OPCW.
UNEP and OPCW will cooperate in the future on the Green Customs Initiative.
This workshop was funded by the European Union Joint Action Plan. The Joint Action Plan provides support in the framework of the European Union strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to the OPCW’s activities, which aim to enhance the effective implementation of the Convention.