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Azerbaijan Customs moving forward with modernization

25 November 2011

Azerbaijan Customs moving forward with modernization

Baku, Azerbaijan, 14-18 November 2011

The need to modernise Customs is becoming ever more apparent as Customs steps up its contribution to national development goals and successful implementation of government policies. Although complexities inherent in the process of modernisation may appear daunting, sound planning and thoughtful sequencing of different elements and initiatives facilitates the process enormously.

The commitment of the Azerbaijan Customs Administration to modernisation and cooperation is well-known. Back in 2007 Azerbaijan was one of the first Members who received a diagnostic mission from the WCO as part of Phase I of the Columbus Programme. The recommendations of the Diagnostic Report translated into a comprehensive five-year state programme. Time had now come to reflect and to develop a new plan for the next period from 2012 to 2016. Azerbaijan Customs chose to begin this process with a workshop on strategic planning and invited the WCO Secretariat to facilitate it.

The introductory part of the workshop focused on the benefits of strategic planning, the main elements of a good strategic plan, the “bottom-up” approach to the planning process as well as what is known as “results-based management”. Then the workshop participants moved on to start the actual drafting of the new Strategic Plan, thereby applying theory in practice. Aiming at constant improvements and at becoming an exemplary Customs administration, participants spent some efforts on trying to define the future Customs activity profile in the changing environment, its functions and priorities, and the consequent education, skills, knowledge and attitude requirements for Customs officers. The new Strategic Plan is designed to be a roadmap that would most certainly make it easier for the Azerbaijan Customs Service to navigate through the modernisation process and achieve these goals.

The first draft of the Plan was eventually presented to Prof. Aliyev, Chairman of the State Customs Committee, together with suggestions of follow-up actions.

The WCO participation in the Workshop was funded by the Eurocustoms contribution to the WCO Customs Co-operation Fund.