October 28, 2011

Report from the Exchange of Nigerian Inspectors to Antwerp and Bremen Ports

Inspector Exchange Participants

From 10-14 October 2011, Nigerian officers visited their colleagues in Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. This exchange was facilitated by INECE in collaboration with the involved authorities in Antwerp, Bremen, and Nigeria.

The objective of the event was to learn mutually about the procedures and practice regarding the inspection of international waste shipments in the ports. Such inspections are important to detect and prevent those shipments that are illegal.

Through a mixture of presentations, discussions and practical demonstrations and exercises, the involved officers got acquainted with several essential approaches and the challenges they present.

Important recurring issues were the following:

Discrimination between waste and (reusable) products

Clear exchange of views and information between competent authorities in countries of export and import is required for effective judgments on the nature of commodities. Unfortunately, such exchange is often missing or unclear.

Collaboration between different authorities, both domestically and internationally

A successful fight against illegal waste shipments requires effective collaboration between different authorities, like Environmental Agencies, Customs and Police officials. In reality, in the ports this is often quite a challenge. Initiatives and programmes stimulating and enabling such interdisciplinary (inter)national collaboration deserve clear support[1].

Inspection of upstream waste sites

Inspection of waste transports in the ports is important to detect and to combat illegal shipments.  Inspections of upstream waste sites, like container packing places and second hand car trading locations in the countries of origin are also needed to enforce environmental standards and to combat illegal transports from the beginning.

Return of detected illegal shipments to the port of origin

Upon detection of an illegal shipment, the actual return of such shipment to the port of origin provides a strong deterrence. In practice, very few of such returns are realized. Effective networking, transmission of updated contact lists and transfer of pertinent information such as simplified guidance and reporting documents were some key issues of this exchange.

The officers involved in this exchange will continue their efforts to seek practical opportunities to improve the situation.  Four days of intensive discussions and working together was beneficial for both the visitors and the hosts. It improved the mutual understanding of specific situations in the ports and strengthened the basis for professional contacts.

At the same time, all realize that the support of higher management and policy makers is often required to make effective progress towards sustainable solutions. Such support is indispensable to improve the inspection process. Through national and international cooperation and interdisciplinary teamwork at all levels the fight against illegal waste shipments and its serious negative impacts can be successful. This perspective further motivates the work of involved officers, their organizations and INECE as a co-facilitator of the exchange.

 

[1]  In connection to this, initiatives and programmes such as the Container Control Programme of UNODC, the Demeter Project of WCO, and the IMPEL-TFS and INECE-Seaport international network activities should be mentioned. See also:

http://www.unodc.org/documents/organized-crime/generalbrochureEN.pdf

http://www.wcoomd.org/press/default.aspx?lid=1&id=187

http://impel.eu/cluster-2

http://www.inece.org/seaport/

 

 

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