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Launch of the Columbus Program

26 January 2006
Launch of the Columbus Program

Text Photo byline: Secretary-General Michel Danet and Director of Capacity Building at the podium launching the Columbus programme on International customs Day 26th January 2006.

26 January 2006

On International Customs Day, the 26th January 2006, the Secretary General of the World Customs organization, Mr Michel Danet launched the Columbus programme, “Aid for SAFE trade”. The Columbus programme is the single largest and most comprehensive Customs Capacity Building initiative ever. The aim of the Columbus programme is the full implementation of the SAFE Framework of Standards, but it is also a preparation for the possible outcome of the WTO negotiations on trade facilitation in Geneva. The Columbus programme consists of three phases. The 1st phase is a comprehensive diagnostic self assessment of the current situation in the country. For needs assessment we use the Diagnostic Framework and the needs assessment diagnosis is carried out by two Capacity Building experts, during two weeks in country. During the diagnostic mission the experts interview all concerned parties including the business environment. The Diagnostic mission results in a country report including the current situation, gap analysis to full implementation and the suggested way forward through a number of recommendations. The 2nd phase of the Columbus programme is support to create an action plan, cost-benefit analysis, match making with donors, planning of pilot activities and implementation. The 3rd phase is monitoring of progress and evaluation.