At a Press Conference held by the National Ozone Unit (NOU) in the Energy Division on Friday November 19th, 2009, two local Customs Officers selected to attend a Train the Trainers Green Customs Initiative (GCI) workshop in the Dominican Republic from November 24th to 26th were presented with travel documents and workshop material to facilitate their attendance.

The Press Conference was held at the conference room at the Ministry of Finance. The presentation was made by Mr. John Auguste, Senior Energy Officer on behalf of the Energy Division, Ministry of Finance.

This workshop is being organized by the United Nations Environment Programme – Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNEP-ROLAC) in conjunction with the Customs Department of the Dominican Republic .

Workshop participants will be exposed to training on several Multi-lateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) related to environmentally sensitive commodities, including:

• The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

• The Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal

• The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

• The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade

• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna

• Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

There will also be presentations from representatives of:

• World Customs Organization (WCO)

• Interpol

• The organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

• The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime

The main objectives of the workshop are:

• To capacitate the Senior National Trainers of Customs Department with information regarding MEAs and Internal Illegal Trade in “Environmentally Sensitive” Commodities

• To raise awareness in conformity with the objectives of the Green Customs Initiative

• To agree on a Draft National Green Customs Training module to be adapted at the National Customs Training Schools.

The goal is to have participants sufficiently equipped to include into National Customs Curriculum the Green Customs Initiative.

The Customs Officers selected to attend the workshop are Mr. Donan Victor, Deputy Comptroller of Customs and Mrs. Lauren Brizan, Senior Customs Officer. They are both due to leave the island on Monday November 23rd for the Dominican Republic .

During a brief interview, Mr. Victor gave the assurance that the information acquired from the workshop will be imparted to other customs officers on their return to Grenada. Mrs. Brizan is also looking forward to her role as being part of the training arm of customs and made it clear to the media that in addition to the principal role that customs play in revenue collection, they also have a moral proactive responsibility to protect the environment.

The National Ozone Unit wishes them well on their participation at the workshop.