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Programme Global Shield


Type: International

Programme Global Shield (PGS) is run by the the World Customs Organization for a initially started for a six month trial period, but due to its success was extended into a long-term project.

It comprises of information sharing between over 70 participating countries on cross-border movements of high-risk explosive precursor chemicals. Through this monitoring of the movement of certain chemicals, the PGS participants were able to identify illicit shipments.

This type of information-sharing on this scale was unprecedented and the international effort has been considered very successful.

Even just during the six-month period, the participating countries monitored the movement of nearly 2 billion kilograms of precursor chemicals, resulting in 19 seizures of explosive precursors weighing over 30 metric tons — enough material potentially to produce hundreds of IEDs. A total of 13 IED traffickers were also arrested during that period.

As the trial was successful the programme continued and developed – providing training, technical assistance. PGS means its participants and partners are better equipped to interdict the illicit diversion of these precursor chemicals. Information on the latest seizures of precursor chemicals can be found at the annual Illicit Trade Report.

The overall objectives of Programme Global Shield are to:

  • Promote cooperation among Customs and Police Administrations in combating the illicit diversion of precursor chemicals;
  • Raise global awareness of the increased threat posed by precursor chemicals;
  • Engage with private industry players to establish best practice programmes to avoid illicit diversion of precursor chemicals;
  • Train Customs officers in the detection/handling of precursor chemicals;
  • Identify and seize illicit shipments of precursor chemicals and communicate these seizures to other Programme participants;
  • Initiate investigations and other enforcement activities regarding illicit shipments (backtracking investigations);
  • Identify and share best practices to combat the illicit diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals used to manufacture explosives;
  • Monitor and track legitimate shipments of precursor chemicals to identify the patterns, diversity, and extent of licit international trade; and,
  • Facilitate legitimate trade in precursor chemicals through risk-based targeting.

This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.