UN Drugs And Crime Office Open To Private Donations To Fight Counterfeits

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A little-known United Nations office fighting illicit drugs and counterfeit goods globally appears to be building a programme of private sector donations for its anti-counterfeiting work.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), based in Vienna, Austria, today reported on a joint programme it is conducting with the Brussels-based World Customs Organization to stop containers of fraudulent and dangerous goods from shipping.

“The Container Control Programme (CCP) – a joint UNODC/World Customs Organization project working to boost the inspection of containers and detect illicit goods – continues to have an impressive success rate, yielding positive results at an ever-increasing pace,” it said in a release. “Initially established to counter drug trafficking, the CCP has rapidly expanded to become a major tool in tackling fraudulent goods.”

UNODC, which is fighting an organised crime industry valued at hundreds of billions of dollars, highlighted the negative impact of counterfeiting. “In addition to the impact that fraudulent goods have on businesses, many of these items can be particularly harmful to consumers and can include items such as counterfeit medicines, sub-standard electrical goods and fake heavy-duty machinery,” it said.

Of note was that the UNODC appears to be calling for more donations from private-sector entities who stand to gain from interception of counterfeits.

“The growth and importance of the CCP’s work in acting against counterfeit goods has now been recognized by a major clothing and apparel manufacturer which has become the first private sector donor,” it said. “This represents a key step in involving businesses with a vested interest in countering this aspect of a global crime. It offers a win-win situation for the private sector who’s [sic] revenues and brands rely on tackling counterfeit goods.”

[Update:] The first contribution of US$25,000 US dollars from the private sector to the Container Control Programme was provided by Adidas, a UNODC official told Intellectual Property Watch.

“We hope that this will be the first of many donations from the private sector to support our global programme that targets all illicit and fraudulent products including IP-related counterfeit regardless of brand, name or origin,” he said.

The container programme currently has 28 operational port control units across 14 countries, the UN agency said. They are located in “major illicit drug producing regions, as well as maritime trade routes for the transhipment of illicit drugs, precursor chemicals and counterfeit goods.”

Some 90 percent of global trade is by container, UNODC said, but only about 2 percent are inspected.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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