CBC11: Manage Change Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow

11 March 2020

The 11th session of the WCO Capacity Building Committee (CBC) was held from 4 to 6 March 2020 under the theme "Manage Change Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.  On the first day, the Committee held a Joint Session with the 12th Meeting of the Working Group on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFAWG).

The CBC was attended by representatives from Member administrations, development partners, academia and other stakeholders.  

In his welcome address, the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stressed the importance of the WCO Theme for 2020: “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”.  He pointed out that it was interpreted well in the CBC’s own theme this year, establishing a link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He brought delegates up-to-date with key Council and Policy Commission outcomes that included work on developing tools to support performance measurement, gender and diversity as well as integrity, all of which were found fundamental to ensuring sustainable reform and development in Customs. He also stressed the critical contribution the WCO made towards resource mobilization through its tools, instruments, common standards, and efforts to support trade facilitation. This included all the TFA-related support in areas such as single window, advance rulings, valuation and rules of origin as well as the comprehensive capacity building approach undertaken in the framework of the Mercator Programme.

The WCO Council Vice-Chair for the ESA Region and Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), Mr. Philiso Phodiso Valashia delivered the first keynote address on the various challenges organizations like Customs faced nowadays as they were increasingly engaged in multiple simultaneous changes and played a key role in government strategies and policies to foster sustainability for prosperity and to contribute to national and global development.

The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the WTO and Chair of the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee (TFC), H.E. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, gave the second keynote address on developments taking place in the WTO TFC and their implication on the WCO work. He informed delegates that rates for implementation of the TFA had improved, especially for the least and less developed countries. He also shared that based on the notifications received, the most commonly requested assistance for TFA implementation was in the areas of human resources development and training, establishing legislative and regulatory frameworks and providing ICT.

Building on the key messages from the opening session, the 11th session of CBC discussed and provided direction on a number of key issues that included the WCO Capacity Building Strategy and Implementation Plan, Capacity Building support to boost the use of Technology and Data Analytics in Customs, Experts Management and Deployment, Small Island Economies, Organizational Performance Measurement, Progress on the development of the “Reform and Modernization – Monitoring Activities and Projects” (RAM-MAP), and the Capacity Building Delivery Report, among others. The CBC also endorsed a draft Declaration on Gender Equality and Diversity in Customs to be presented to the WCO Council for consideration.

Delegates from the Dominican Republic, Malawi, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Zambia, Guatemala, as well as representatives of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the African Union Commission, shared their excellent experiences on the abovementioned topics and contributed to the success of the session.

The 11th Session of the CBC was chaired by Mrs. Velma Ricketts-Walker, Commissioner and CEO of the Jamaica Customs Administration, who was re-elected as Chair. Mrs. Sigfríður Gunnlaugsdóttir from the Customs Administration of Iceland was elected as Vice-Chair for the Committee session in 2021. 

For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.