Yesterday was World Customs Day. I was watching my PMO colleague launched the World Customs Day on television last night. This event surprisingly will hold a special place in my memories. Exactly a year ago, I was appointed to my current post and the first thing I had to do was inspect the Customs Officers parade and launched the 2008 Customs Day.
What is Customs Day? It is the day when Customs organisations worldwide celebrate International Customs Day each year on 26 January. This marks the day of the first official meeting of the Customs Co-operation Council, now known as the World Customs Organization, which has 169 member states. Our own Brunei Royal Customs and Excise Department became the 140th member of WCO in 1996 and has been celebrating the event since 2001.
Last year the theme for 2008 International Customs Day is the focus on illegal trafficking of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances. The theme for 2009 event is "Customs and the Environment — Protecting our Natural Heritage". According to WCO statement, by focusing on the protection of natural heritage, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) is appealing to Customs administrations around the world to be alert to illegal international trade that threatens wildlife and the environment, such as endangered species, plants and the illegal trade in waste products.