SSN provides training to Moroccan Customs Officers on
illegal wildlife trade (October 2009)

In cooperation with WWF and the Moroccan Forestry Department, SSN has provided CITES training for Moroccan Customs officers. The training took place in Ifrane, Morocco, on 14-16 October 2009. Twenty-five Moroccan Customs officers completed a three-day training course designed to increase their capacity to detect and stop illegal wildlife trade.

SSN’s CITES training workshops are based on four principles:

SSN’s CITES training begins with an assessment of a country’s national legislation as it applies to CITES-listed species. In Morocco, SSN conducted a legal review in order to assist Moroccan Customs authorities in understanding the legal context that supports their CITES enforcement actions. The review contained an overview of the CITES treaty, with a special focus on those permitting requirements which the customs authorities of each CITES Party have the responsibility to enforce at the border. The review also provided a detailed analysis of existing Moroccan legislation related to CITES, including the authority granted to various Moroccan authorities to enforce the Convention. [Download the legal review for Morocco here]

SSN believes that collaboration among authorities is key to strengthening CITES enforcement and fighting illegal wildlife trade more effectively. We facilitate collaboration among those who share similar responsibilities and challenges in different countries, including both customs officers and enforcement officers working in the field.

For the Morocco training, SSN had the privilege of working with an experienced Customs officer, the Senior Detection Manager of the CITES team of the United Kingdom Border Agency. He presented an overview of Customs responsibilities (enforcement, detection of illegal trade, intelligence sharing, inquiries, reporting and collaboration with other authorities), as well as providing information and exercises designed to assist customs officers in learning how to read and understand the CITES Appendices, and how to check CITES permits and detect fraud. He also provided information and exercises on safety and security measures, the detection of illegal trade, and the identification of CITES-listed specimens.

By facilitating this collaboration between Moroccan and United Kingdom Customs authorities, SSN has helped lay the groundwork for broader and longer-term collaboration between these two agencies.


As part our training procedure, SSN develops practical tools to assist Customs authorities in conducting their CITES enforcement work. For the Morocco training, SSN organized a needs assessment meeting between the CITES Management and Scientific Authorities and the Customs Authority. The meeting agreed on a list of CITES needs in the country, validated the CITES training program and decided on the tools needed by Customs authorities to ensure implementation of CITES at the border. Following this meeting, SSN developed resources adapted to the specific needs identified by Moroccan authorities. These included (click on those resources listed below that are available for download):

CITES authorities within a country are in the best position to identify measures likely to improve their own CITES enforcement. SSN’s CITES training includes facilitation of discussions among the national authorities having responsibility for various aspects of CITES implementation and enforcement. During the Morocco workshop, this discussion led to the adoption of thirteen recommendations for stronger CITES enforcement, agreed to by the CITES Management, Scientific and Customs Authorities in Morocco. These recommendations included, for example, creating procedures for exchange of information and intelligence between the Management Authority and Customs, and the organization of train the trainer seminars on CITES for customs trainers. 

For more information on the CITES training organized by SSN in Morocco, please contact Alice Stroud at 

To donate to the work of SSN, please see our donations link.

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