MONTRÉAL, 15 March 2011 – The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya and his counterpart at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Raymond Benjamin, today agreed to expand cooperation between their two agencies in tackling threats to global air cargo security.
Closer collaboration between the WCO and ICAO is expected to significantly minimize the operational and financial impact of security measures by reducing or eliminating duplication in systems and processes, while enhancing synergies.
The end result will be a more effective and efficient response to current as well as new and emerging threats to the security of the global trade supply chain, a critical element of the world economy, the two heads stressed.
“The WCO has unique powers, a multi-faceted mandate, extensive information gathering capabilities, a physical presence at borders and interacts with industry on a day-to-day basis,” said Mr. Mikuriya. “These resources are essential in a global strategy to secure international air cargo.”
In November 2010, the Council of ICAO approved new and strengthened standards which include a requirement for its 190 Member States to establish a supply chain security process on their territory. The new provisions become applicable in July 2011.
“Working closely with the WCO, we want to achieve the highest level of end-to-end cargo security, while preventing unnecessary delays in the movement of goods across international borders,” Mr. Benjamin emphasized.
The WCO, together with ICAO, will carry out a review of its existing procedures through a newly-constituted Technical Experts Group on Air Cargo Security. They will analyze such vital issues as electronic advance data, the sharing of information at various levels (government-to-government, Customs-to-Customs and Customs-to-industry) and risk management.
Last fall, the ICAO Assembly unanimously adopted a Declaration on Aviation Security which focuses on four main target areas: enhanced screening technologies to detect prohibited articles, strengthening of international standards, improving security information sharing and providing capacity-building assistance to States in need.
The WCO Policy Commission in turn adopted a Communiqué on Air Cargo Security in December which underlines the importance of national and international cooperation, coordinated border management, threat information sharing, strengthened use of intelligence-driven risk management and enhanced Customs-Business partnerships.
WCO – World Customs Organization
ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization