From 10-12 May 2022 in Nairobi, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) organized the workshop “Using authentication technologies and nuclear analytical techniques to counter criminal infiltration into the legitimate supply chain: the cases of fuel frauds, illegal pesticides, illegal fishing and counterfeit medicines”.
The meeting, hosted by the Kenyan Government Chemists Department of the Ministry of Interior, was organized in cooperation with the European Union Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (EU CBRN CoE) Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa in Nairobi. The event was attended by governmental experts from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda as well as by representatives of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). Among the participants there were also individual experts, representatives of companies suffering from criminal activities in these areas and of companies designing technology solutions (Authentix, Bayer, Corteva, Medisafe Expertise France, SICIM and SICPA. Several international organizations, experts and companies also attended the event virtually, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator in Ukraine and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The aim of the workshop was twofold: first, to analyse how violent non-state actors (organized criminal and terrorist groups) are infiltrating the legitimate supply chain in key areas. In particular, the analysis focused on existing and evolving security risks related to Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, illicit pesticides, fuel frauds, and falsified medicines. Second objective of the workshop was to understand how recent technological advances can help reinforcing the supply chain integrity in these areas. Two main categories of technologies were at the core of the discussion: 1) innovative supply chain security technologies designed to prevent and detect criminal infiltrations into the legitimate supply chain; 2) nuclear analytical techniques used for forensic investigation to determine products composition and attribute criminal activities.
Presentations and group discussions highlighted some critical aspects of how technology solutions can be applied to support national authorities in better monitoring, preventing and investigating these crimes. While there was general consensus on the positive impact that these technologies may produce, some key areas for future action and training were also identified by national authorities, especially in relation to: the practical use of such technologies in the field; the need to improve cooperation between national agencies; and the need to ensure cooperation with the private sector.
As stated by Mr. Ali Gakweli, Chief Government Chemist and National Focal Point of the Centres of Excelence in Kenya, “the workshop helped participants discussing the possible way forward to reinforce national and regional strategies to prevent these crimes and identifying new areas where research and technology developments are required”.