The momentum continues: Report from the second meeting of the WCO Capacity Building Committee

13 May 2011
The momentum continues: Report from the second meeting of the WCO Capacity Building Committee
Brussels, 03-05 May, 2011

More than 210 participants from approximately 80 Customs administrations (including several Customs Directors General), as well as from different international and donor organizations, private sector and universities attended the second Capacity Building Committee in Brussels on 03-05 May 2011. The meeting was for the second time successfully chaired by Mr. Chris Henderson from Canada.

The meeting was opened by a thought-provoking keynote address by His Excellency Mr. Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance, South Africa. Political will, People and Partnership “3Ps” as it was high-lighted at the first Committee, were again stressed by him as pre-conditions to sustainable development and modernization of Customs administrations. The Minister encouraged the Committee to adopt a holistic approach to Capacity Building and be agile, strategic, relevant and responsive.

In the course of three days the participants shared their views, experiences, research, best practices and made a number of tangible inputs which will add value to the overall WCO capacity building programme. As was pointed out by the Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, the presentations on Capacity Building activities made by all WCO Directorates and the Research Unit, were clear evidence of the importance of a corporate approach to continued successful capacity building delivery.

Among the tangible outcomes of the meeting were the need to invest in the development of leadership and management skills, to further work on the HR area as an investment in organizational development of Customs administrations, including thoughts to be spent on a Model Customs Career Path, to provide and share national and regional case studies on performance measurement, to enhance result-based management of Capacity Building projects, to share experience on national training centers on the basis of collective efforts of all ROCBs/RTCs and the WCO Secretariat etc. The Committee endorsed the idea of intersessional work on donor engagement and co-ordination between the WCO Secretariat, interested Member administrations and donor organizations. Members were again encouraged to engage in providing experts to the WCO.

The meeting also welcomed the exchange of experience entailed by Members already benefiting from Tripartite Agreements. Delegates endorsed the approach to Phase 3 of the Columbus Programme, the monitoring and evaluation phase, and encouraged the WCO Secretariat to further invest in respective progress evaluation missions as piloted in Mongolia.

As one of the conlucsions, the Capacity Building Directorate was also tasked to produce a revised and enhanced strategic roadmap for Columbus in the 21st Century based on the input provided by the Members of the Committee.

Meeting participants highly appreciated the new organizational approach of break-out sessions introduced in this year’s Committee. During these sessions three groups discussed ideas on how to prioritize the work of the Committee and what and how to work on intersessionally. Based on input of participants to an evaluation form, an evaluation of the meeting has been carried out. Feedback by participants was absolutely positive stating that the work of the Committee in the area of Capacity Building stands for „getting things done, creating effective Customs organizations and launching the reform and modernization process which delivers concrete and tangible results”.

The next CBC is scheduled to take place in Brussels in the week of 27 February – 02 March 2012.

The Executive Summary of the Capacity Building Committee as well as some “visual impressions” are already to be found here on the WCO Website, under Committees, Capacity Building Committee Sessions, 2nd Session. The full report of the meeting will soon be shared, too.