WCO Secretariat celebrates International Customs Day

26 January 2021

This year, due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium and around the globe, International Customs Day (ICD) was celebrated virtually by the World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretariat on 26 January 2021. Although representatives of the Customs community could not gather at WCO Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium) to mark the day, as they do every year, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, delivered his message in a recorded video. WCO Members and stakeholders were also invited to participate in this initiative.

To start the day, Dr. Mikuriya’s speech was shared on the WCO Website and social media platforms, together with well-wishes from the Secretariat, Members and Stakeholders. As the past year was a particularly challenging one for Customs in the light of the crisis caused by COVID-19, Dr. Mikuriya’s address underlines the WCO’s appreciation for the tremendous efforts by all Customs officers during the pandemic to safeguard the supply chain, often in spite of the potential risks to their own health.

Secretary General Mikuriya then proceeded to officially launch the WCO’s theme for 2021, namely “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain,” that Customs and its partners are invited to put into practice throughout the year and beyond. The theme provides much food for thought, including how collaboration can be enhanced to drive the Recovery process, how digital transformation can be embraced along with other advanced technologies to enable Renewal, and how “people” can be put at the centre of change for a Resilient and sustainable supply chain.

Dr. Mikuriya also participated in the Belgium Customs Administration’s ICD celebrations, through a recorded message. Belgium’s event saw the participation of Mr. Kristian Vanderwaeren, General Administrator of Customs and Excise, and included keynote speeches and acknowledgement of the achievements by the country’s Customs officers. Even though a parade could not be held this year, the iconic Manneken-Pis statue was still dressed in a Customs officer’s uniform to mark this ICD.