International Anti-Corruption Day: a call to action for each and every one of us

09 December 2021

The United Nations designated 9 December International Anti-Corruption Day in order to raise awareness of this issue around the world and to highlight the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (A/RES/58/4).

This year’s theme is “Your right, your role: Say no to corruption”. It focuses on the role, rights and responsibilities of everyone – including states, government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, the public and young people – in tackling corruption.

The WCO Secretariat wishes to contribute to the United Nations’ awareness-raising campaign by reminding its own staff, as well as those working in Customs administrations and their partners, of the urgent need to act in order to prevent, counter and detect corruption.

By the very nature of their activities, Customs administrations are susceptible to various kinds of corruption, from bribery to large-scale fraud. Since the adoption in 1993 of the Arusha Declaration concerning good governance and integrity in Customs, which was subsequently revised in 2003, the WCO, through its Integrity Sub-Committee, has developed several tools to assist Customs administrations in identifying corruption risks, implementing appropriate measures to mitigate those risks and drawing up an integrity strategy.

To assist WCO Members in the use of these tools, the WCO Secretariat is providing support in various forms, such as an assessment or assistance mission, lending support as part of a review of a code of conduct, or presenting an integrity strategy, or a training or support plan for corruption risk mapping.

The Secretariat has also established the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme with financing from Norway and Canada. Guided by and in line with the Revised Arusha Declaration, the A-CIP Programme aims to promote change by mobilizing a community of experts from Customs administrations and by supporting a process for adopting appropriate practices and principles. It has facilitated the creation of a Customs Integrity Perception Survey which can be used by administrations to assess the impact of their integrity initiatives.

On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, the WCO Secretariat would like to reaffirm its commitment to assisting and supporting any Customs administration in need of help or wishing to share its experience for the benefit of the Customs community. It also urges Customs staff to speak up or continue speaking up, saying a loud and clear “no to corruption” today and always.

Message from the WCO Secretary General