The EU/UNDP Programme « BUMAD » held a meeting of the heads of customs services of the Black Sea region countries.

The event was jointly managed by the Programme of Assistance for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova (BUMAD Programme) and the State Customs Service of Ukraine. It was held on 26-27 September, 2006, in the central office of the State Customs Service in Kiev.

the purpose of the meeting was to reach agreement on creating an international system of information exchange between customs bodies of the Black Sea ports, which should improve efficiency of the fight against smuggling, first of all against drugs trafficking, the European Council's Delegation in Ukraine press release out on Monday says.

The meeting was opened by Ms. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecka (United Nations Development Programme Deputy Resident Representative), Mr. Bernhard Bogensperger (the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine Programme Coordinator on issues of asylum, border control, organized crime and terrorism) and Mr. Oleksandr Yehorov (Head of the Customs Service of Ukraine). Among other participants of the meeting there were representatives of state customs services of Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine, as well as representatives of MARINFO Offices North (Germany) and South (France).

The meeting included discussions on the legal possibilities of the exchange of information between Black Sea ports, its scope, format and means of communication as well as practical measures to establish such an exchange. As a result all participants agreed on the following:

- The Customs Services of the mentioned countries will set up a practical and non-bureaucratic structure for the early exchange of maritime information about seizure data, suspicious shipments, cargo vessels, yachts and modi operandi in order to facilitate the targeting processes of customs services.

- The Ukrainian delegation stated that a possibility to host the Focal Point for such a structure in Ukraine will be seriously considered. The financial support will be provided by the BUMAD Programme.

- In order to deal with the practical issues of establishing information exchange system a Working Group will be set up in the early 2007, comprising maritime experts of the participating countries. The main task of the Working Group will consist in elaboration of the rules of procedures and the best practices for the scope, a common format and the means of transmission of information.

All participating countries realise that integration of customs services’ efforts in the region through the rapid and structured exchange of information on drugs trafficking will provide a possibility of timely and high-quality analysis of the traffic flowing via the Black Sea ports. As international experience proves, it is analytical work that allows maintaining a reasonable balance between efficient customs control measures and unconstrained commodity exchange.

The representatives of mass media were invited (including 7 TV channels) to attend the opening of the meeting and a press conference.

The BUMAD Programme is an umbrella programme benefiting Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The overall objective of this Programme is to reduce drug trafficking. The Programme adopted a balanced approach addressing interdiction aspects as well as demand reduction and regional co-operation aspects. European Commission provided 2,500,000 EUR for implementation of the Programme for the period of 2,5 years.


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