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WCO PICARD Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, closes on a high note

11 septiembre 2015

The 10th annual WCO PICARD Conference, which ran from 8 to 10 September 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan, ended on a high note after three days of thought-provoking presentations by invited speakers, followed by dynamic discussions among participants.  

The annual PICARD Conferences have positively impacted the work of Customs since 2006, providing a platform for dynamic dialogue between Customs administrations, universities, and research institutes on topics relevant to Customs and international trade.  

Hosted by the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, the Conference kicked-off with opening remarks by WCO Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, and the Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, Mr. Aydin Aliyev.  

Mr. Donhyun Lee, Vice Commissioner, Korea Customs Service (KCS), also spoke at the opening and underlined his administration’s continued support of the WCO’s research agenda.  

The Conference welcomed some 240 participants from over 50 countries, representing Customs administrations, the academic and research communities, 21 international and regional organizations, and the private sector.  

In his address, Secretary General Mikuriya, expressed his gratitude to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan for hosting the PICARD Conference and the warm welcome to the participants, and thanked KCS for supporting the participation of some speakers.  

Mr. Mikuriya noted that “research activities and discussions on topics relating to global value chains (GVC), revenue matters and smuggling, the three focus topics for this year’s Conference, greatly support the Customs community and its stakeholders in their daily work and decision-making processes.”  

Chairman Aliyev noted that, “taking into account the challenges lying ahead for Customs administrations, it goes without saying how important the timely sharing of information and best practices among the global research community is today, as it has an important role in informing decision-makers about the research findings that promise to lead to effective solutions. In this context, through academic research and debate, the PICARD Conference strives to help decision-makers in Customs to formulate strategies and policies.”  

The Conference benefited from an interdisciplinary approach to research and policy analysis on Customs matters, international trade, and borders. Presentations were made by Customs officials, anthropologists, criminologists, economists, lawyers, and political scientists.  

A keynote address was given by political scientist Dr Mick Moore, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development in the United Kingdom. Keynote addresses were also delivered by three Nobel Laureate economists: Dr Eric Maskin, Professor at Harvard University (United States), Dr Edward Prescott, Professor at Arizona State University (United States), and Dr Finn Kydland, Professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara (United States).  

Presentations were also made by representatives of journals that publish papers on Customs and border issues, including the Global Trade and Customs Journal, the Journal of Borderlands Studies, and the World Customs Journal.  

A Youth Forum took place during the Conference, bringing together some 70 students from various universities to discuss topics raised during the Conference, as well as future career possibilities in Customs and in the international trade arena.  

Christine Msemburi, the Director of the WCO Regional Office for Capacity Building in East and Southern Africa, closed Day 2 of the Conference by advocating the need for more research to ensure that Customs and border realities are properly told and understood. “Let’s tell our stories,” she said.  

In closing the Conference, Robert Ireland, the Head of the WCO Research Unit, expressed his warmest thanks to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan for all their efforts for making this Conference a great success and paraphrased the writer David Simon by saying that “the PICARD Conference is building something here, and all the pieces matter.”  

The WCO was proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the PICARD Conference in Baku, once again providing an opportunity for Customs officials and academics to meet, network and exchange ideas, thereby supporting decision-making processes in Customs and border management.

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Photo captions:  

1/ The Conference PICARD 2015 welcomed some 240 participants from over 50 countries.  

2/ WCO Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, at the opening session.  

3/ Opening of the Conference. From right to left: Mr. Aydin Aliyev, Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan; H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan; Dr Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General; Mr. Robert Ireland, Head of the WCO Research Unit and Chairperson; Mr. Donhyun Lee, Vice Commissioner, Korea Customs Service (KCS); Dr Eric Maskin, Professor at Harvard University (United States), Nobel Laureate economist; and Dr Mick Moore, Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development (United Kingdom).

Photos

  • The Conference PICARD 2015 welcomed some 240 participants from over 50 countries

    The Conference PICARD 2015 welcomed some 240 participants from over 50 countries

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  • WCO Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, at the opening session

    WCO Secretary General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, at the opening session

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  • Opening of the Conference. From right to left: Mr. Aydin Aliyev, Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan; H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan; Dr Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General; Mr. Robert Ireland, Head of the WCO Research Unit and Chairperson; Mr. Donhyun Lee, Vice Commissioner, Korea Customs Service (KCS); Dr Eric Maskin, Professor at Harvard University (United States), Nobel Laureate economist; and Dr Mick Moore, Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development (United Kingdom)

    Opening of the Conference. From right to left: Mr. Aydin Aliyev, Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan; H.E. Mr. Abid Sharifov, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan; Dr Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General; Mr. Robert Ireland, Head of the WCO Research Unit and Chairperson; Mr. Donhyun Lee, Vice Commissioner, Korea Customs Service (KCS); Dr Eric Maskin, Professor at Harvard University (United States), Nobel Laureate economist; and Dr Mick Moore, Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development (United Kingdom)

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