Successful completion of the 85th Session of the WCO Policy Commission

15 December 2021

The WCO Policy Commission held its 85th Session in a hybrid format, from 13 to 15 December 2021, under the chairmanship of Mr. A. Al Khalifa, President of Customs Affairs in Bahrain and Chairperson of the WCO Council. Heads of Delegation took part in the hybrid meeting, with participants joining remotely from all regions as well as at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

During the three-day meeting, the Policy Commission discussed various topics, including the Business Case for the Exploratory Study on a Possible Strategic Review of the Harmonized System, the implementation of the WCO COVID-19 Action Plan, the Organization’s main priorities, the new WCO Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and its potential areas of focus and the WCO Business Continuity Plan, among others.

The delegates supported the renewed focus on digital customs and the work of the Secretariat to develop a data strategy. They expressed their interest in further exploring the role of Customs in climate change mitigation and also reaffirmed their commitment for organizational improvement and increased engagement. 

During the meeting, the WCO Secretary General presented a forward-looking account of the activities of the Organization and the future development of a comprehensive data strategy, in line with the identified focus areas.  He also announced the theme for 2022: Scaling up Customs’ Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Customs Data Ecosystem.

Additionally, delegates received progress reports on several ongoing programmes and initiatives within the different core areas of work of the WCO, including updates on the Organizations’ ongoing work on performance measurement, gender equality and diversity, and the activities of the Private Sector Consultative Group.

The successful outcomes of the meeting will serve to further shape the intersessional work, in preparation for the June Policy Commission and Council sessions.  Members expressed their gratitude to the Chairperson for his leadership, and the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, as well as the officers of the Secretariat, for the excellent organization of the meeting despite the ongoing global pandemic.