UK experts pass the first step of the WCO Mercator Programme Advisors accreditation process in Lincoln, United Kingdom, 7-11 September 2015

17 September 2015

A WCO pilot workshop on the accreditation of Mercator Programme Advisors (MPAs) was held in Lincoln, United Kingdom, 7-11 September 2015. It was carried out through the UK-funded project under the WCO Mercator Programme.

MPAs are Customs Modernization Advisors (CMAs) with the capacity to accompany, guide and mentor organizations towards implementing trade facilitation reforms and modernizing processes, including implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). MPAs, once accredited will be invited to carry out TF/TFA-related missions and related support under the WCO Mercator Programme. This work will require individuals with the ability to lead and facilitate reform and modernization programmes and activity, such as sequencing the implementation of the provisions of the TFA, along with the elaboration of strategic plans or action plans that support overall reform and development. They will also be invited to support Members in establishing their National Committees on Trade Facilitation.

MPA accreditation workshops are part of the WCO's strategic approach to obtain a wider access to Capacity Building experts and to ensure their qualified and standardized level of support to Members. The WCO accreditation process is a 2-step approach. The first step being successful participation in a workshop followed by successfully conducting an in-field mission as a co-facilitator.

This pilot workshop included some traditional CMA type presentations, exercises, role-plays and discussions, as well as activities specifically related to implementation support for provisions of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Participants were assessed against the required CMA/MPA profiles through a series of testing exercises, presentations, role-plays, group activities and plenary discussions. Participants were also required to demonstrate their knowledge and strategic application of core WCO tools and instruments and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement along with their potential to facilitate discussion with senior Customs officials in a strategic context.  

Four participants were assessed as being suitable to progress to a second-step in country mission as CMAs/MPAs and will be invited to participate in strategic planning or TFA implementation support missions under the Mercator Programme.

A number of similar accreditation workshops will be held in the course of the financial year 2015-2016.