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OCO helps members to remain connected PR13/21

Mar 19, 2021

OCO chairman, Salvador Jacob and a customs officer with the notebook for FSM Customs. Pic: SUPPLIED

Suva, Fiji, 19 March 2021 – Ten members of the Oceania Secretariat Organisation have received communication equipment to assist them in accessing and sharing information on security issues.

“The pandemic has forced us to implore new methods of operation where we all have had to rely more on the digital platform to remain connected,” OCO Head of Secretariat, Richard Brennan says.

“For some of our members, they have been left behind or have struggled with the new normal as they did not have the necessary communication equipment. We are helping them with the provision of equipment, which is critical in the sharing and accessing of information to keep our borders safe.”

The assistance was targeted for small and medium category members who may have financial constraints to develop their digital communication initiatives.

The 10 members- Cook Islands, CNMI, FSM, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu- responded to OCO’s expression of interest in December all received assistance.

“The OCO work plan had been revised during the heights of the COVID 19 pandemic and one of the response was to assist members with connectivity in anticipation of the new normal,” Mr Brennan said. “Since most trainings are held online through webinars, we found on numerous occasions our members would drop out of the webinars due to poor connectivity.”

The assistance is also to help members access the All Partners Access Network (APAN) system, an information sharing tool for law enforcement agencies and the testing of the Pacific Small Craft Apps (PSCA) that is being developed for OCO through support of the Australian Home Affairs Department in collaboration with the Australian Border Force.

The communication equipment is also expected to benefit Customs officers from the 10 countries who are currently enrolled in a 10-month online training by OCO and the Centre for Customs and Customs Studies of Charles Sturt University, Australia.

ENDS

For more information or for any queries, please contact the Secretariat or email: mediaoco@ocosec.org

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