The Fourth Global Canine Forum was organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) from 2 to 4 October 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic with the support of the Czech Customs Administration and funded by the Customs Cooperation Fund Japan (CCF/Japan).
This edition of the Global Canine Forum provided an open platform for over 120 experts from 44 countries to share the latest best practices and experience in terms of training for detector dogs and handlers.
The Forum was opened by Mrs. Alena Schillerova, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, and Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO. She acknowledged the long history of using dogs to detect contraband and protect society. Dr. Mikuriya stressed the important role played by sniffer dogs to detect explosives, illegal drugs, currency, and even electronics. He acknowledged the expertise and professionalism demonstrated by the Forum participants, and encouraged a proactive exchange of experience to combat criminal organizations worldwide. Secretary General Mikuriya also extended his gratitude to the Czech Customs Administration for hosting this important global event.
On the first day of the Forum, delegates visited the canine facility at Prague Airport where they were treated to a demonstration by detector dogs arranged by Czech Customs. These dogs are capable of searching for a wide variety of items, including drugs, firearms, tobacco, alcohol, CITES goods and, more recently, currency.
During the following two days of the Forum, participants actively exchanged knowledge and experience on various aspects regarding developments in the use of detector dogs, dog breeding, management of canine centres, and design of training programmes. They welcomed the establishment of the “CENcomm Global K9 Forum” virtual expert group by the WCO, and some countries also expressed an interest in having their canine centre accredited by the WCO as a Regional Dog Training Centre (RDTC).
The Chairperson Ms. Vendulka Holá brought the Forum to a close by highlighting the importance of holding regular meetings of experts in dog training, handling, breeding and research. This not only facilitates sharing of expertise but also promotes a network for multilateral collaboration among WCO Members. All the participants appreciated the hospitality of Czech Customs headed by Director General Milan Poulíček.