14th Session of the Integrity Sub-Committee

09 March 2015

The WCO Integrity Sub-Committee (ISC) held its 14th Session on 26-27 February 2015 at its headquarters in Brussels, where around 115 delegates representing WCO Member administrations and stakeholder organizations participated and discussed practical issues and approaches towards combating corruption and enhancing governance in Customs.

Mr. MAZORODZE, Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Swaziland Revenue Authority, opened the session with an emphasis on the role of LEADERSHIP in INTEGRITY in relevance of Customs capacity building.

In the discussions that followed, the Director of Capacity Building, Mr. Erich Kieck emphasized that the work of the 6th Capacity Building Committee in pursuing objectives and programs under the theme "Starting with the End in Mind: Quality Implementation by focusing on Results", and the ensuing discussions highlighted the importance of integrity for Customs modernization. The Director also stressed the ongoing implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement that the improved trading environment would attract more trade and investment to countries that implement good governance. Those improvements should lead to increasing transparency and reducing discretion of Customs officials.

The Agenda included an update on the latest integrity activities of the WCO Secretariat and the outcomes of the Asia-Pacific Integrity Dialogue that took place in Melbourne, Australia in February 2015. Two new WCO Guides were presented at this occasion: the Guide to Corruption Risk Mapping and the Guide to Prevent Corruption Procurement Corruption in Customs.

Human Resource Management was also in the center of the discussions as it is seen as a key element to enhance integrity. The issues of recruitment, rotation and incentives were presented by the Customs administrations of Ecuador, Burkina Faso and Cameroon respectively and discussed in great detail. Another item featured the experience from Namibia Customs in promoting integrity in cooperation with the private sector and other key stakeholders as well as a presentation from the private sector on the importance of working with Customs to fight corruption. The question of safeguarding against organized crime syndicates was also addressed by a presentation from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). The importance and challenges of establishing whistle blowing mechanisms was presented by UNODC and New Zealand Customs.

The 14th session of the ISC was chaired by Mr. David Dolan of the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP). MS Sigfridur GUNNLAUGSDÓTTIR, ICELAND, was elected as the Chairperson for the next ISC session.

The ISC took note of all discussions and proposed measures for adoption by Members. A full report of the 14th session of the Integrity Sub-Committee will be made available on the WCO website soon.