Press Release

Increasing the security of the trade supply chain at Baghdad International Airport

12 September 2023

On 10 September 2023, Iraq took a significant stride in bolstering trade supply chain security – concurrently targeting high-risk air cargo while facilitating the smooth flow of legitimate trade. In pursuit of this crucial objective, Iraqi authorities have joined forces with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to implement the Passenger and Cargo Border Team (PCBT) Container Control Programme (CCP) in close cooperation with the World Customs Organizations (WCO).

This partnership resulted in the establishment of an Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at Baghdad International Airport (BIA). Under the auspices of the Border Ports Commission, the official inauguration of ACCU occurred on 10 September 2023, within the cargo area of BIA. 

In the Presence of Mr. Qasim Ala’raji, Iraq’s National Security Advisor, launched by the Chairman of the Border Ports Commission, Major General Dr. Omar Al Waeli, the ceremony was attended by H.E. Ms. Alina L. Romanowski, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, whose country is funding PCBT in Iraq. Longstanding supporters of the PCBT, such as Australia, represented by H.E. Ms. Paula Ganly, Ambassador of Australia to Iraq and senior representatives of Canada, Germany and the United Nations, were also in attendance. The Director General of Iraqi Customs, Mr. Hassan Hassani and senior representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Interior, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, and Iraqi Airways, whose respective administrations are key partners to PCBT, attended the official inauguration of the ACCU and expressed unwavering support to the programme.

Through the establishment of the ACCU, the PCBT empowers Iraq in its fight against illicit trafficking at border crossings. The ACCU will be composed of officers from various agencies operating within the cargo area of BIA that have been trained by the PCBT on risk analysis, profiling, targeting, and inspecting suspicious cargo. These officers will continue to receive ongoing training and support. Moreover, in adherence to global best practices, liaison officers from all relevant law enforcement agencies involved in cargo control at the airport can be incorporated into the ACCU at a later stage.

UNODC’s Head of Iraq Office emphasized that “we stand shoulder to shoulder with Iraq to tackle the complex challenges of organized crime through an expanding program of support including on border control”. Mr. Wolfgang Aigner, UNODC PCBT Regional Coordinator for the MENA region, emphasized that while the project is technical in nature, the establishment of the ACCU and its efforts to institute transparent and secure customs and cargo control procedures sends a strong message of dedication and engagement to the international community.

UNODC extends its gratitude to Iraqi partners and the donor countries of the United States of America, Norway, Germany, and Australia, for their support in the region and congratulates all parties involved for their contribution to this vital step towards deterring organized crime within the global supply chain.



For more information, please contact:

Joseph Khattar []

Programme Officer for Iraq

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Goals we are supporting through this initiative