WCO-OSCE Sub-Regional Workshop in Baku broadens Members’ understanding about Customs Modernization in the 21st Century

01 July 2012

WCO-OSCE Sub-Regional Workshop in Baku broadens Members’ understanding about Customs Modernization in the 21st Century

Baku, 03-06 July 2012

The WCO seeks to continuously provide its Members with the necessary support to implement best practices and standards in their reform and modernization processes allowing them to effectively keep pace with international developments. To facilitate and improve the coordination of support to its Members, the WCO and the Regional Offices for Capacity Building (ROCBs) have worked towards establishing and maintaining a network of Customs officials within Member administrations who serve as focal points for CB activities coordination and at the same time are able to manage and contribute to their own administration’s modernization programme and share experience with other administrations.

As a concrete commitment to strengthening the capacities of administrations in Eastern Europe to be able to lead and effectively manage their own development processes and reform, the WCO joined efforts with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to organize the first ever Capacity Building and Customs Modernization Workshop for Russian-speaking Customs officials. The awareness workshop took place in the excellent facilities of the ROCB for the WCO Europe Region in Baku, Azerbaijan on 3-6 July 2012.

It involved Customs officers from 13 administrations managing Capacity Building initiatives and experts who expressed a keen interest in learning more and later on contributing to WCO CB activities delivery. Representatives of the ROCB for the MENA Region and of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) also attended the workshop.

The workshop aimed at providing the participants with a broader understanding of the context in which Customs administrations work today and the WCO’s capacity building activities take place. It also enabled participants to familiarize themselves with the concepts, methods and tools employed by the WCO to support its Members, and with the different international standards relating to Customs modernization and management. The principles of ownership of the reform process and of holistic organizational development were discussed and underlined as guiding principles and pre-conditions to success throughout the entire workshop. Participants were also given a chance to acquaint themselves with the challenges and sustainable approaches, when supporting Customs reform and modernization processes. The workshop benefitted from numerous interactive presentations and lively discussions.

With a growing number of CIS/sub-regional Members in the Europe Region in Phase II, the strategic planning and implementation phase, of the Columbus Programme there is a growing demand for assistance/advice in the broad area of Customs Modernization and further reforms implementation.

A subsequent sub-regional Customs Modernization Advisors accreditation workshop for Russian-speaking colleagues is therefore envisaged for the second half of 2012 where participants from the Baku awareness workshop will be invited to attend.