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China Customs kicks off ‘Green Customs’ training to combat crimes against nature

Ningbo, 19 September 2011- Sixty senior Chinese Customs officers gathered today in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, to take part in the first national Green Customs Workshop in China, a four-day event providing awareness-raising and training on combating the illegal trade of environmentally-sensitive commodities. The workshop, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with China Customs, the World Customs Organization (WCO), Interpol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and several Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Secretariats, under the “Green Customs Initiative,” aims to enhance the capacity of Chinese Customs officers and other enforcement personnel to detecting and prevent the smuggling of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), toxic chemical products, hazardous wastes and endangered species, as well as facilitating legal trade.

The workshop, taking place in China, the largest international trading country in the world, will help to equip customs and enforcement officers with a knowledge of MEAs and the current global and regional trends of illegal trafficking of environmentally-sensitive commodities. At the opening session of the event, a Memorandum of Understanding between UNEP and China Customs was signed to strengthening cooperation in capacity building in addressing environmental crime.

China is the largest importer of solid waste and a major destination of illegal waste. “China Customs has played a leading role in addressing illegal trade in ozone depleting substances and hazardous waste by launching a regional cooperation project entitled Project Sky Hope Patching,” said Mr. Zhang Shigang, Coordinator of UNEP China Office.

“In terms of ozone depleting substances, China’s production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) accounts for 70% of the global production, and one-third of Chinese production is exported. Hence, efficient controls of imports and exports are vital and capacity-building and information exchange is of utmost importance. UNEP intends to further enhance cooperation with China to prevent illegal trade” said Mr. Ezra Clark, Green Customs Coordinator, UNEP OzonAction Programme.

China is also a major chemical producer and destination county for many endangered species and wildlife products. Therefore, the actions of Chinese Customs in addressing the illegal trade in environmentally sensitive commodities will have a great impact on the environmental security and the compliance of various MEAs not only in China but in other countries as well.

“China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) welcomes the Green Customs Initiative and commits to strengthen its control on international trade under various environmental agreements through international cooperation,” highlighted Mr. Xu Wenrong, Deputy Director General of Anti-Smuggling Bureau of China Customs.

In this training workshop, experts from UNEP, WCO, Interpol, UNODC and the representatives of MEAs Secretariats will share their knowledge to build the capacity of the participants and to foster better cooperation between customs, the MEA Secretariats and their regional offices.



FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Anti-Smuggling Bureau of China Customs
Mr. Xu Wenrong
Deputy Director General
TEL: +86 10 6519 4017
FAX: +86 10 6519 5789

UNEP
Zhang Shigang
Coordinator
UNEP China Office
No. 2, Liangmahenanlu, Chaoyang District, 100600, Beijing China
TEL: +86 10 85320922
FAX: +86 10 85320907
Email: unep@public.un.org.cn

Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida (Ms)
Policy & Enforcement Officer (Ozone)
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Room# 0235, B Wing, 2nd Floor,
UN Building, Ratchadamnern Avenue
Bangkok 10020, Thailand
TEL: +66 2 288 1679
FAX: +66 2 288 3041
Email: kakuko.nagatani@unep.org

Ezra Clark
Programme Officer, Green Customs Coordinator
Compliance Assistance Programme
UNEP OzonAction Programme
15 rue de Milan
75441 Paris Cedex 09 France
TEL: +33 1 4437 7611
FAX +33 1 4437 1474
Email: ezra.clark@unep.org


UNEP Media Focal Persons:

Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, Tel: 02 288 2127/02 288 2314;, Mobile: 083 9086000; E-mail: satwant.kaur@unep.org

Ms. Anne Fenner, Information Manager, UNEP OzonAction Programme, Tel: +33 1 4437 1454; Email: anne.fenner@unep.org

NOTES TO EDITORS:

UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (UNEP)
UNEP is the United Nations system’s designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.

Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989. Since then, it has undergone five revisions, in 1990 (London), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international cooperation "Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date...”

About the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) of UNEP DTIE
UNEP as an Implementing Agency of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol has a unique regionalized programme that delivers compliance assistance services to countries to assist them meet the international commitments under the Protocol. The compliance regime requires countries to: achieve and sustain compliance, promote a greater sense of country ownership and implement the agreed Executive Committee framework for strategic planning.

UNEP through the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) has moved from project management approach to a direct implementation initiative through its specialized staff. Consistent with the above approach the Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (ROAP) CAP team has developed to be the centre for policy advice, compliance guidance and conduct training to refrigeration technicians, customs officers and other relevant stakeholders on compliance issues, promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation and promote high-level awareness by utilizing UNEP’s staff.

The Green Customs Initiative
The Green Customs Initiative is a partnership of international organisations and secretariats that cooperate to enhance the capacity of customs and other relevant border enforcement personnel to deal with trade in environmentally-sensitive items. It offers an integrated approach for providing information, training and awareness-raising to facilitate legal trade in such commodities and prevent their illegal trade. The partnership comprises the secretariats of the relevant multilateral environmental agreements with trade related components (Basel, Cartagena, CITES, Montreal, Rotterdam and Stockholm) as well as Interpol, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, UNEP, The United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization.

Project Sky-Hole Patching II
Project Sky-Hole Patching II was initiated by the World Customs Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) DTIE OzonAction Programme and had the participation of Customs administrations from over 80 countries. In developing countries, National Ozone Units - the government units responsible for managing the national compliance strategies under the Montreal Protocol – actively supported the Customs administrations in
this operation through expert advice and information sharing. The project has resulted in the seizure of thousands cylinders of smuggled ozone depleting substances in many countries.

Green Customs Initiative: www.greencustoms.org
OzonAction Programme: www.unep.org/ozonaction