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Joining forces to fight corruption - frank discussions at the 16th Session of the WCO Integrity Sub-Committee

15 March 2017

The WCO Integrity Sub-Committee (ISC) held its 16th Session on 9-10 March 2017 at the WCO headquarters in Brussels. Over 150 delegates representing WCO Member administrations and stakeholder organizations participated in discussions that ensued after a warm welcome by the Chairperson, Mrs. Sigfríður Gunnlaugsdóttir from Iceland Customs

On the first day, a joint session of the Capacity Building Committee and the Integrity sub-Committee was held.  The theme of the joint session was Collective Action to promote Integrity. Collective action refers to actions undertaken by individuals and/or groups towards a collective purpose or goal and is advocated as a measure to combat corruption. The Director of Customs from Guatemala Revenue Authority (SAT) and a representative from the private sector made a joint presentation on the benefits of joining forces to fight corruption, which was followed by a presentation from the Basel Institute on Governance, the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network and Indonesia Customs. 

The Members highlighted the importance for administrations to establish adequate communication mechanisms with private sector and to engage all stakeholder in pursuing development agendas, particularly in the initiatives to enhance integrity and fight corruption.

The ISC agenda featured presentations on how an Internal Affairs Unit can enhance integrity in an organization and on the importance of having an Integrity Strategy.

The ISC Chair addressed the opportunity to make a connection between the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and Integrity in a paper and a presentation where she analysed the provisions of the TFA and asked the ISC to look at ways to take advantage of the TFA to further promote integrity.

The Secretariat presented a document that identified trends observed through an analysis of mission reports over the last 5 years and asked the ISC participants to comment on the document as well as to the way they wished the Secretariat to address some of the problems highlighted.  The ISC was also asked to indicate what topics they wished for the WCO to work on in the area of integrity and what they would like to see on the next ISC agenda.  Quite a few suggestions were made.

WCO Members took the opportunity of the 16th ISC Session to have frank discussions and share their views on the issue of integrity in Customs.

Mrs. Sigfríður GUNNLAUGSDOTTIR of Iceland Customs was re-elected as the Chairperson of the ISC. Mr. Carlos ENRIQUEZ from Mexico Customs was elected Vice-Chair of the ISC.