Interview with Ms. Sarma on the US CSP-program

28.6.2016: Today’s CBRA Interview with Ms. Dace Sarma from CRDF Global focuses on the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program


Hi Dace, and thanks for joining CBRA Interview. Can you please tell first a bit of your background and what you do today?

I work at CRDF Global, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services. At CRDF Global, I work in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program, CSP in short, on programming collaborating with government, security, academic, and industrial communities around the world to strengthen their ability to thwart chemical attacks. Prior to working with CSP, I supported and implemented the Department of State’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, WMDT in short, projects within the scope of CRDF Global support for the WMDT.


Thanks for sharing that. Can you explain more about CRDF Global and the Chemical Security Program, CSP, by the US State Department?

CSP works with a number of implementing partners, including CRDF Global, to promote chemical security through sponsorship of projects designed to identify and address chemical security vulnerabilities and prevent chemical attacks.

CSP collaborates with diverse stakeholders, including partner governments, subject matter experts, and international organizations, to enhance chemical security through capacity building workshops, and trainings.


I had the pleasure to join twice the CRDF Global workshops in 2015: first to Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015, and second to Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2015. The former workshop was targeted for the Egyptian government and chemical industry, and the latter one for the Iraqi government and chemical industry. Extremely interesting 3-4 days in both workshops, with great audiences and co-speakers / co-facilitators. In both workshops I gave presentations e.g. on FP7-project CORE / dangerous goods tracking, and on Dow Chemical supply chain security – thanks again to Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio and Dr. Toni Mannisto of CBRA for co-producing these presentations. What is the current status of CSP regarding these countries today, if I may ask?

Thank you again for your participation in these workshops, Juha. We all appreciated you sharing your experience in chemical supply chain and transportation security.

We have continued work with our partners in Egypt on chemical supply chain security. CRDF Global, the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Environmental Compliance Office (FEI-ECO) and the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Chamber of Chemical Industries (CCI) held an event in December, also sponsored by CSP, which convened 170 government, industry and academia representatives from Egypt’s chemical sector to highlight Egypt’s achievements in securing the chemical supply chain and identify further steps required to secure their chemicals in transit.  FEI-ECO and CCI are also working to provide technical guidance and support for Egyptian chemical companies to adopt Responsible Care®, an international voluntary chemical management initiative developed by the chemical industry to help chemical companies operate safely, securely and profitably.

In Iraq, CRDF Global and CSP have continued to work closely with a variety of partners from across the chemical and security communities. Most recently in April, with sponsorship from CSP, CRDF Global implemented the 1st National Chemical and Biological Security Coordination Conference in Baghdad. The conference convened Iraqi government, security, industrial, and academic sectors to discuss national efforts, interagency coordination, and best practices to counter chemical and biological proliferation in Iraq.


Any plans in 2016 to organize similar workshops in the MENA region?

We will continue to work with our international partners, including in the MENA region, in 2016. As the world becomes more connected, we will continue to focus on securing the chemical supply chain.  Many of our partners have also identified chemical ground transportation security as an area of particular interest.  We look forward to working with technical experts like CBRA and leaders from chemical communities worldwide to enhance global chemical security.


Thanks a lot Dace for this interview – and hope to meet you soon again, at one the upcoming missions / workshops! Juha

MARITIME SECURITY – Ongoing U.S. Counterpiracy Efforts Would Benefit From Agency Assessments, GAO, June 2014 (CORE1017)

Summary: This GAO report explains how the US government agencies have fought sea piracy around the Horn of Africa and at the Gulf of Guinea since 2010. The report also describes the current state of sea piracy threats in these two areas, and it urges US government agencies to reconsider their resource allocations, strategies and tactics related to the counterpiracy efforts. The report points out that the number of annual piracy incidents at the Gulf of Guinea has surpassed the yearly incidents off the Horn of Africa. This shift in pirate attacks prompt changes in the US counterpiracy operations. However, as the report points out, the US government agencies responsible for the counterpiracy activities have not recently conducted reassessments of their actions, despite the changing conditions. The report therefore recommends the US government agencies to re-evaluate the counterpiracy efforts, especially at the Gulf of Guinea that is becoming the most important hotspot of the international sea piracy. This GAO report provides information about modern sea piracy from which CORE’s maritime demonstrations might benefit. The report is available for download at:

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Full review: This GAO report delivers a comprehensive analysis of the current state of sea piracy at the two African hotspots and the US government’s counterpiracy efforts. This information benefits those CORE demonstrations that involve maritime shipping. The detailed description of the US counterpiracy efforts might also inspire the risk cluster to find effective and efficient risk-based solutions to protect maritime logistics and transport from sea piracy.


  • Maritime Security: Federal Efforts Needed to Address Challenges in Preventing and Responding to Terrorist Attacks on Energy Commodity Tankers. GAO-08-141. Washington, D.C.: December 10, 2007.
  • Maritime Security: Actions Needed to Assess and Update Plan and Enhance Collaboration among Partners Involved in Countering Piracy off the Horn of Africa. GAO-10-856. Washington, D.C.: September 24, 2010.

Additional keywords: Maritime security, sea piracy





Draft SADC guidelines for Coordinated Border Management: A Practical Guide on Best Practices and Tools for Implementation, 2011 (CORE1115)

Summary: The 15 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are looking ways to ease the transition of their regional Free Trade Area towards a more integrated Customs Union where people and cargo would cross borders without excessive delays and administrative burden. The countries expect that the smoother cross-border traffic would contribute to the economic growth in the region. Central to the integration effort is coordinated border management, i.e., closer collaboration among various border control agencies, both nationally and internationally. The SADC guidelines provides a comprehensive catalogue and description of best practices of border agency cooperation and guidance how to implement them in the Southern-African context. Besides the guidelines, the document also features a comprehensive glossary of coordinated border management vocabulary. You can download the guidelines here: Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

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Full review: The guideline document suggests that coordinated border management depends on three levels of coordination: 1) intra-agency coordination within boundaries of one organization, 2) inter-agency cooperation between separate border control agencies or between the agencies and associated ministries and other policy-making bodies, and 3) international cooperation among border control agencies at both sides of a border or among governments at various supranational political forums.

The guideline document discusses in detail six key areas of coordinated border management. The most fundamental of the management areas is the legal and regulatory framework that defines a necessary legal basis for inter-agency and international cooperation and exchange of information. The second key management area is the institutional framework that is about governance and organizational structures underlying border control operations and high-level decision-making. The third management area concerns the procedures for cooperation at the borders. The fourth management area focuses on human resources and training, and the fifth on exchange of data, information, and intelligence. The sixth and the last management area is about providing infrastructure and equipment that supports other areas of coordinated border management.

Reference: Southern-African Development Community, 2011. “Draft SADC guidelines for Coordinated Border Management: A Practical Guide on Best Practices and Tools for Implementation”




Mr. Tom Butterly on trade facilitation projects

CBRA Interview with Mr. Tom Butterly on global trade facilitation initiatives and projects

Hi Tom, and great that you could join a CBRA Interview. Can you please tell me a bit about yourself and your background?

Thank you Juha. Yes, I consider myself very fortunate to have had a long and rewarding career in trade facilitation and development. I am very passionate about this work. I firmly believe in the potential of trade, if approached in a just and equitable way, to create meaningful employment, reduce poverty and enhance the living conditions for citizens in a country. It is very satisfying to be involved in projects that aspire to this.

My background in trade facilitation goes back a long way. I started work in Ireland in a large telecommunications company exporting globally and then moved to Canada where I worked with the government of Nova Scotia Canada to promote international trade. From there I spent several years in Africa and then globally working in international trade development and facilitation. I believe I have actually worked in over 70 countries at this stage!

During the past 15 years I was the Deputy Director for Trade and Economic Cooperation at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE, where I played a strong role in developing many key global trade facilitation recommendations and standards and supported the implementation of trade facilitation reform in many UN Member States. This was a great experience for me.

My most recent activity as of January this year was the establishment of Trade Development and Facilitation, TDAF Consulting ( ), and I am very excited about this new venture.

You mentioned your long career in trade facilitation at UNECE – that’s where we two actually met first time, around 2003, I believe. Could you share a brief success story on UNECE’s work in this area?

Well, as I mentioned, working in the United Nations was a most fulfilling experience. It was a real lesson in the power of what can be achieved when people get together for a common cause – and I also learnt about the challenges involved in achieving global consensus!

As you know, UNECE is a major player in trade facilitation and has developed many of the global standards in this area through its UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). My most rewarding work at UNECE was related to the development of the suite of Single Widow Recommendations – UNECE Recommendations 33, 34 and 35 – and the associated work in helping countries around the world to implement Single Window facilities. You were involved in this work and I think you will agree that Single Window has emerged as a very powerful trade facilitation instrument which, if implemented properly, can result in a dramatic improvement in trade competitiveness through the associated simplification, harmonization and integration of trade process. I always emphasise that this work should not focus on the IT solution – rather, it is all about government and business working together as partners to simplify the trade processes for the benefit of everyone – and then use IT to help achieve this!

There are many other projects I was involved with that are worthy of note but I will mention just one – the UN Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide, TFIG. Again, you participated in this project and TFIG has become the most complete on line guide to trade facilitation – available in five languages and supported by all the key UN Agencies involved in trade facilitation (see ).

Now you have your own consulting company, TDAF Consulting. How do you help your customers and what kind of customers are you best able to help?

Establishing TDAF Consulting has been a great adventure. In TDAF Consulting we are taking our long experience in this work directly to countries and organizations that want to make real progress in trade facilitation. The business has gotten off to a great start and I am currently undertaking work for several UN agencies, the OECD, and large Single Window projects in Africa. It is very encouraging to see the level of demand for this type of work and also the level of ambition that countries have in moving forward to enhance their competitiveness.

TDAF is a network of leading experts in trade facilitation and we can cover all aspects of trade facilitation, including all elements in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. This broad level of practical experience in implementing trade facilitation on the ground, combined with our deep policy and strategic view of trade facilitation, is what gives TDAF its strength and unique position in the market. We are a very small operation so we are very selective in the projects that we undertake but this means that we really enjoy what we do and I believe we deliver a good quality product. We are just launched and I am very excited about the potential of the business.

In which trade facilitation areas – in particular WTO TFA articles – you foresee the biggest potential to produce tangible improvements in cross-border supply chains across the globe?

I think the WTO TFA marks a major step forward in implementing trade facilitation worldwide, primarily due to the enhanced political will associated with the Agreement. I have observed through my work that many developing countries are taking this Agreement very seriously and they see it as a major opportunity to launch broad initiatives to radically enhance their trade competitiveness. So it’s not about just ticking the TFA box. The Agreement is actually a baseline for deeper reform in some countries and this is very encouraging.


Clearly, the Agreement has many measures that greatly benefit trade facilitation. I tend to focus on issues related to the removal of regulatory and procedural barriers to trade and particularly border agency and cross border cooperation. You will not be surprised when I say that Single Window – Article 10.4 – is probably one of the most effective measures in this area as its implementation also encompasses many of the other elements of Article 10. I also think major advances can be made through implementation of Article 8 on Border Agency Cooperation and again, I see countries using these measures just as a baseline for where they want to go and what they want to achieve. From my direct experience in the field I can also say that Advance Rulings – Article 3 – is also a powerful measure from a trader’s perspective. Similarly, I think Article 5.3 has really opened up debate on the important role of test procedures and, consequently, the need for a quality infrastructure and mutual recognition thereof. It is tremendous that such debates are happening now at the political and policy level rather than just at the technical level.

The whole area of trade facilitation support structures – Article 23 – also has great potential to establish long term support for trade facilitation initiatives in developing countries and this must be strongly supported. Again I stress that I hope National Trade Facilitation Bodies see the WTO TFA as just the start of the journey that can lead to much greater participation of developing countries in the global markets.

These are very exciting times for trade facilitation!

Thank you Tom for this interview – and hopefully we can explore joint areas of interest for TDAF Consulting and CBRA, already during spring and summer 2016! See you again Friday this week in Geneva. Thanks, Juha.

Tom Butterly can be reached at

Professor Guido Palazzo on illicit waste supply chains

Today we interview Professor Guido Palazzo on illicit waste supply chains.

Hi Guido, and thanks for joining a CBRA Interview – can you first tell a bit who are you and what you do?

I am a Professor of Business Ethics at the University of Lausanne since 2003. In my research I focus on the dark side of the force. I examine human rights problems in global supply chains, the driving forces of unethical decision making in organizations and the interface of business and organized crime. In the early 2000s, when I started with my research, business ethics was largely marginalized and perceived as rather irrelevant for both business schools and companies. This has changed dramatically in recent years. Ethical questions have moved center stage.

One of your research project focuses on illicit waste supply chains, particularly in Italy. How bad is the situation there?

Since 25 years, organized crime, in particular Camorra and Ndrangheta are involved in the business of toxic waste recycling. This business is ideal from the perspective of a Mafia organization: Legal risks are negligible and profits are huge. Operating with straw firms they offer their services across Europe up to 90% below the prices of their legal competitors. Obviously, they do not really recycle the waste but simply dump it in South Italy mainly in Campania province, but also in Africa and Eastern Europe. We are talking here about slag and chemicals and tire and other forms of waste from hospitals, garment industry, chemical industry, nuclear industry and so on. The waste includes toxins like cyanide, dioxin, asbestos, chlorines and includes also nuclear waste. Since 25 years, millions of cubic meters of such waste have been dumped in a region which the Romans once called Campania Felix for its fruitful soil. Billions of Euros of profit have been made and laundered by banks in Zurich, London and New York. And the most amazing think is that until recently, this destruction of one of the most beautiful regions of Italy occurred in complete silence. Now, toxins have arrived at the ground water and cancer rates of people living around the waste dumps explode.

Sad and interesting – at the same time – to hear about this… If I recall correctly, I gave you couple of months ago a copy of the FP7-CWIT project´s final report – with recommendations and a tangible roadmap to better mitigate risks of illegal activities in electronic waste… Do you foresee opportunities for similar research projects in the field of toxic waste trade, supply chains and logistics?

We do indeed need a similar research project in order to better understand the journey of illegal waste through Europe and the critical points in the supply chain of toxic waste recycling where organized crime interferes. We need public awareness for the urgency of the problem, develop a better regulatory governance around waste recycling and impose a compliance system on companies so that the existing silent collusion can be stopped.

Thanks Guido for this enlightening interview; and let´s start working together – as UNIL, CBRA and other partners – towards future research funding & project, on this crucial environmental and human health protection topic!

Border Posts, Checkpoints, and Intra-African Trade: Challenges and Solutions. Barka, H., B., 2012 (CORE2009)


Pan-African economic integration has progressed over past years, producing a broad range of regional trade agreements and economic communities that seek to harmonise policies, develop common infrastructure and remove barriers to intra-African trade. Against expectations, however, this increased integration has not translated into strong economic growth in Africa. This article discusses how sub-Saharan countries can overcome trade barriers that undermine the African economic integration. The article’s focus is on border posts and customs procedures that play a key role in facilitating cross-border traffic.

According to the article, the problems of international trade in Africa are largely explained by inadequate infrastructure that creates congestion and limits connectivity, delays that stem from complex and manual customs procedures, corruption and by illicit trade. One-stop-border-posts are a promising approach to streamline customs procedures and curb corruption. The joint border post may bring trade facilitation benefits as significant as costly investments on roads, ports, bridges and other transport infrastructure. The articles highlights the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post between Zambia and Zimbabwe as a successful case of border agency cooperation. Previous Observatory review (CORE2008, 20 January 2016) describes the Chirundu border crossing in more detail.

The paper concludes by suggesting One-Stop-Border-Post as a promising way towards higher trade facilitation and African integration. To organise one-stop-border-post, the first thing to do is to analyse roles and procedures of different border control agencies. The task of high-level governance is to define how responsibilities across the various border control agencies are harmonised, coordinated and delegated. Metrics and statistics should underpin the design, as numerical data into traffic flows and clearance times are likely to reveal the major bottlenecks in the cross-border traffic. Finally, the article proposes extended exchange of information and data across government agencies, domestically and internationally. The article is available at

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

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Full review

The discussion on one-stop-border-posts in the African context is closely related to the CORE project and its many work packages. Especially the WP12, the demonstrator Schipol, that deals with imports of fresh cut flowers from Kenya to the Netherlands, benefits from the insights into African bureaucratic practices at many African borders. The demonstrator should consider the set of recommendations for higher border agency cooperation that the article proposes. Besides the demonstrators, the article provides a concise and informative outlook on international in Africa. At least CORE’s WP19, should consider the African perspective on cross-border trade when developing training material.


Barka, H., B., 2012. Border Posts, Checkpoints, and Intra-African Trade: Challenges and Solutions. African Development Bank



Zambia and Zimbabwe’s single-stop solution to boosting intra-African trade, The Guardian 2012 (CORE2008)


The Guardian news article summarizes benefits and challenges of the African first one-stop border post, located at the Chirundu border crossing across the Zambezi river between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At the border post, officials in both countries inspect only inbound traffic, for example Zambian authorities control only incoming traffic from Zimbabwe. Thanks to this one-stop arrangement, trucks and barges are obliged to stop only once and undergo only one set of border formalities. The one-stop system has accelerated border crossing times tremendously, from a two or three day wait down to a thirty-minute rest. Moreover, the faster border formalities have translated into higher traffic at the border post (from earlier 2000 to today’s 14000 trucks per month) and associated larger tax and duty revenues. But most importantly, the faster and simpler border formalities have facilitated trade of many small-scale merchants, who commonly trade small amounts of food, clothes, and other everyday commodities. Today, these small merchants face less delays, cumbersome formalities, and arbitrary duties and facilitation payments that dishonest customs officials may impose on their goods. This progress has brought many of the informal merchants, who used to smuggle their merchandise before, back into the sphere of the formal economy. Even so, the smuggling is still a major problem in Africa: the article suggests that there are smuggling routes so established that 30 tonne trucks use them to evade customs controls, and that this informal smuggling economy accounts for a staggering one-third of the African gross domestic product (GDP). The article implies that the share of the informal economy could be further reduced through consolidation of African trade blocks (there are several), harmonization and simplification of border formalities, and enhanced border agency cooperation. The news report is available at:

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

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Full review

This Guardian article showcases a great example of successful border agency cooperation in Africa. The CORE WP12, the “demonstrator Schipol” focusing on shipping of fresh cut flowers from Kenya to the Netherlands, might choose to study this African one-stop border concept in more detail. Closer analysis may reveal key success factors and obstacles that characterize the border agency cooperation in Africa. Also CORE’s WP19, that produces material for training and education, may use this African one-stop border as an illustrative example of border agency cooperation in developing countries. The CORE’s risk and IT clusters might need to explore this case in more detail to understand technical aspects of this one-stop border post concept.


The Guardian, Zambia and Zimbabwe’s single-stop solution to boosting intra-African trade, the Guardian, 29. May, 2012. Retrieved from