22.6.2017: In today’s interview, Dr. Sangeeta Mohanty from CBRA Switzerland, speaks about her engagement in CBRA activities.
Hi Sangeeta! Can you tell us a bit about your background and what you have been doing at CBRA?
Hi Juha, certainly. I have a diverse academic background over a range of humanities and social science disciplines including economics, political science, law, European Studies and English literature. I have complemented this with additional education in general and specialised business studies, including International Business, Corporate Strategy and Enterprise Risk Management. Prior to joining CBRA, I was working in different capacities in training and education for about six years. Since joining CBRA in 2011, I have been involved in multifarious global supply chain security, waste crime, and transport management projects, namely FOCUS, CASSANDRA, SAFEPOST, CORE, CWIT, DOTCOM Waste and SYNCHRO-NET. In addition, I have been actively engaged in a couple of trade facilitation projects, including the de-minimis study on indirect border taxes in the European Union and the study on border agency cooperation for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
You have been actively engaged in two illegal waste management projects. Can you elaborate a little on your contribution to these projects?
The CWIT (Countering Waste Electrical and Electronic Illegal Trade) consortium strived for a deep understanding of the legal and illegal streams of electronic waste and offered a holistic research perspective to recognise and leverage the relevance and interconnectedness of the various e-waste related aspects, including the regulatory framework, operational procedures, monitoring capabilities, public awareness and training, intelligence and information management, new technologies and prosecution priorities. On behalf of CBRA, I was involved in a plethora of activities related to policy and stakeholder assessment; law enforcement and compliance gap analysis, identification of e-waste distribution channels; estimation of illegally traded e-waste volumes and illicit profits; and the development of a roadmap for future research and technology. The culmination point of the CWIT project was the development of clear and specific recommendations for the European Commission, national governments and the e-waste industry for concerted action against illegal trade and mismanagement. Perhaps my most important contribution to the successful outcome of the project was related to these endeavours, with me being mostly responsible for all recommendations pertaining to the European legal framework and law enforcement strategic capabilities. To disseminate the project results, you and I have published academic papers and a news article for the WCO magazine. Let us now team up for more.
In the follow-up project, DOTCOM Waste (Development of Tools to Counter Illegal Management and Trade of Waste) that leans more towards practice-oriented training for all waste types, I played a key role in two main activities: 1) performing a Risk Analysis of waste crimes, and 2) development and design of the training toolkit and materials. I joined hands with Mr Guido Villa (TECOMS, Italy) and Dr. Toni Männistö, my CBRA colleague, to produce a comprehensive risk mapping of waste crimes based on the extensive data collected on intelligence gathering, real cases of violations, investigations on illicit management and illegal trade of waste in Europe and in select destination regions (West Africa and Asia). With support from the United Nations University (Germany), I conducted the Training Needs Assessment to better understand the training needs of police, customs and port authorities and other relevant stakeholders that would benefit from additional training on waste crime related matters. This exercise was intended to allow for the assessment of the current gaps in capacity building and designing the DOTCOM training toolkit accordingly. Right now, as a member of the organising team, I am in the midst of a flurry of activities to ensure the smooth running of the joint DOTCOM-BLOCKWASTE conference on November 23, 2017.
The highly specialised scientific knowledge gained from the numerous work involved in our international projects is enriching. I get the opportunity to collaborate and coordinate with a wide range of stakeholders from academic institutions, industry, national governments and international organisations. The outputs of our projects not only offer direct practical benefits, but address priority world needs like safety and security, environmental safeguard, human health protection, and sustainable economic growth. It gives me a feeling of deep satisfaction that all my research efforts are geared towards influencing key policy makers to make a positive difference in the world around us and society at large.
Thank you, Sangeeta, for sharing your experiences and passion for our activities!