international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking

26 june 2019

the world customs organization (wco) joins the international community to mark  the united nations’ international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking on this 26 june 2019, and welcomes this year’s theme of: health for justice, justice for health.

this year’s theme sends an important message: justice and health go hand in hand and the wco through its programs and initiatives, is at the forefront of this combat: making our world more equal, stable and secure, a world where our communities are not affected by the impact of organized crime actions.

this year’s theme comes also at an important moment: across the world drug production and trafficking are expanding as never before and represent major concerns. as reported in the latest wco illicit trade report: “as it is such a lucrative endeavor, drug trafficking constitutes the flagship activity of organized crime. among other things, organized crime threatens international trade, encourages violence, causes health problems, embodies national public safety issues and geopolitical challenges, and provides a constant source of funding for extremist groups and terrorist networks”.

on this occasion wco secretary general kunio mikuriya stated that “the targets as set out by the un sustainable development goals, should guide us in the fundamental actions to be taken to build a peaceful and sustainable world where the rule of law is respected and promoted. we have an arduous way forward and in order to be effective we need to work and stand together.”

international coordination and cooperation are pivotal to tackle the threat imposed by drug trafficking. the challenge faced by customs and its partner agencies is very serious, this is why the wco has set up a  drugs and precursors programme which aims at countering global illegal trade covering the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug restriction and prohibition laws. the programme consists of several major components:

  • eu-wco colibri project
  • unodc-wco container control programme
  • project aircop
  • global forum on combating illicit drug trafficking and related threats
  • global canine fora
  • operational activities.

the wco reaffirms today its commitment to fight against organized crime in order to make the world a better place for all and for future generations. to this regard, the wco recently launched an innovative long-term initiative funded by the european union, the colibri project. the innovative project is unique in its kind and targets specifically general aviation which is a fast and discreet mode of transport and represents many opportunities for organized crime and illicit trafficking. the project's aim is to strengthen operational cooperation between customs and other law enforcement agencies on suspicious activities.