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Munich Security Conference : WCO Secretary General promotes Customs role in fragile and conflict-affected situations

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MUNICH : From 17 to 19 February, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), attended the 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany.

This prominent global forum, founded back in 1963, gathered over 850 delegates, including more than 40 Heads of State and Government, over 60 ministers, as well as representatives from academia, think tanks, civil society and businesses.

The MSC, under the motto ‘’Peace through Dialogue’’, has traditionally focused on global security and defence matters. However, in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, security is intertwined with other matters such as global trade, supply chain resilience, economic and human development, and there is a need to address these topics in a more holistic manner.

Secretary General Mikuriya participated in a number of sessions, including a roundtable on the human dimension of critical resources in Africa. This topic is of interest to many WCO Members facing the impact of mining operations that are out of the government control. This affects not only border security and state revenue, notably through the provision of the source of funding for non-state armed groups, but also leads to other negative effects, such as environmental degradation. Dr. Mikuriya also raised the issue of Customs contribution to resolving the challenges arising from climate change at another roundtable that included the representatives of the COP28 Presidency, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), several think-tanks, and representatives of governments both from the African continent and European countries.

In the margins of the Conference, the Secretary General also met with several Heads of State and Government and ministers, and held bilateral meetings on security matters, including the with Mr. IIkka Salmi, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. He discussed the challenges surrounding Customs cooperation, and the sharing of intelligence with military communities in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

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