9th Session of the Integrity Sub-Committee

29 October 2010

9th Session of the Integrity Sub-Committee

Brussels, 30 September - 1 October 2010

From 30 September to 1 October the Integrity Sub-Committee held its 9th Session at the WCO Brussels Headquarters following the fist meeting of the Capacity Building Committee. Over 130 participants met to listen to progress made with regard to integrity pilot projects, to validate the WCO Integrity approach and to attend a round table discussion on the theme: Risk management as a key approach to fighting corruption.

Integrity is a crosscutting issue and of great importance both to Customs and the private sector who need to work in close cooperation. The presence of private sector as observers in the group is therefore vital to handle the issue of integrity. We all know that corruption is a threat to the rule of law, democracy, human rights and social justice. It is linked to international crime and terrorism. It can impede economic development and increases risk and costs in the private sector.

The Sub-Committee had a special focus on results and experiences learnt in Member countries, and aimed at developing concrete actions and initiatives that will strengthen Member administrations. The discussions clearly showed that there is a need to update WCO integrity tools. To that extent the option of establishing a virtual working group with several interested Members to carry out the process under the Secretariat’s guidance was accepted. The Integrity Development Guide will be reviewed through that process.

The proposed amendments to the WCO Model Code of Conduct were circulated to WCO Members for them to provide feedback until 31 December 2010. After that date, Members comments will be taken into consideration and a final draft will be presented to the next ISC meeting in May 2011 for adoption. Acknowledging the need for information sharing, the Sub- Committee wanted the WCO Integrity Newsletter to continue being produced.

The CBC Director encouraged Members to mobilize their efforts in the area of funding and in terms of partnership and pilot projects. The WCO Secretariat was asked to produce a paper that will document the process adopted through the implementation of integrity pilot projects in order to present the lessons learnt. Discussions also showed a need to continue promoting the pilot project approach.

Emphasis was put on the need to measure the impact of integrity related activities amongst WCO Members. One of the key messages which emerged was the importance of having a focus on the human factor. The Sub-Committee also pointed out the need for capacity building and technical assistance to enable further implementation of integrity standards. The Secretariat was asked to organize a workshop similar to the capacity building accreditation workshops for integrity experts.

The 10th Session of the ISC will meet again in May 2011.
Roy Skårslette, Chair of the Integrity Sub-Committee