UNDP Chief hails Customs’ contribution to the Millennium Development Goals
Brussels, 28 September 2010
Speaking at the inaugural session of the WCO Capacity Building Committee, United Nations Undersecretary and UNDP Chief, Helen Clark, stressed the importance of Customs’ contribution to the achievement of the eight Millennium Development Goals aimed at substantially reducing poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths, inadequate access to water and sanitation, gender inequality, and environmental degradation by 2015.
Ms. Clarke underlined the fact that growth in trade as well as Customs revenue collections which funded national budgets was key to halving world poverty. She said that Customs is critical to border control, revenue collection and trade facilitation, and it also has a role in helping countries to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the global trading system.
Given the importance of Customs to the international development agenda, Helen Clark added that Customs could make a difference as it played a vital role in a number of key areas. She supported a country-led approach with a focus on institution building which was in synergy with the WCO capacity building programme.
Underscoring the complementarity between the WCO and the UNDP, she suggested that enhanced inter-linkages and cooperation with the WCO at the UN level and at the regional level with a focus on developing and least-developed countries was crucial. In addition Ms. Clarke said that the norms that had been established by the WCO should lead the work of the World Bank and the UNDP.
“The activities being undertaken by the WCO and its Customs membership in areas such as trade promotion and facilitation, revenue security, fighting environmental crime and capacity building could help to accelerate progress towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, recently called on world leaders to redouble their efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, adding that the world possesses the knowledge and resources to achieve them.
During the UNDP Chief’s visit to WCO Headquarters she also had a brief but intensive meeting with Secretary General Mikuriya on a number of issues of common interest. Further interactions between the WCO and the UNDP are foreseen in the future.