12th Session of the Capacity Building Committee - Leading Customs to Navigate Challenging Times and Beyond

26 February 2021

The 12th session of the WCO Capacity Building Committee (CBC), under the theme " Leading Customs to Navigate Challenging Times and Beyond” was conducted in two phases. The document-based phase 1 took place from 25 January to 8 February and was followed by the phase 2 web-conference sessions from 22 to 24 February 2021.

The web-conference was attended by nearly 340 representatives of Member administrations, development partners, academia and other stakeholders.

In his welcome address, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya reminded the delegates that the CBC 11 was the last meeting to be held in the traditional way and this new meeting process had now become the ‘new normal’ under the current circumstances. The Secretary General underlined that the theme of the meeting, “Leading Customs to Navigate Challenging Times and Beyond”, was well in line with the WCO theme of the year “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain,” and emphasized the importance of a united approach in contributing to recovery from the crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, by enhancing collaboration with partners and stakeholders in the public and private sector and focusing on the role of Leadership and People in times of crisis and challenge from several perspectives, whilst setting the people at the center.

Mr. Levan Kakava, Director General of the Revenue Service, Ministry of Finance of Georgia, delivered a keynote address, emphasizing that “Strength is in Unity”. The integrated border management approach, single window and E-services and E-formalities were key factors for Georgia in managing the pandemic challenges in four main directions:  (1) Facilitating the Cross-border Movement of Relief and Essential Supplies; (2) Supporting the Economy and Sustaining Supply Chain Continuity; (3) Protecting staff and (4) Protecting society. Mr. Kakava concluded that now was the time when increased cooperation, especially on the establishment of common rules, between international organizations, state agencies and other stakeholders, should be developed, supported and encouraged. He also sent a message to the meeting that challenges can be turned into opportunities and create a great value for tomorrow.

The 12th session of CBC discussed and provided direction on a number of key issues, that included People and Organisational Resilience, Operationalizing the WCO Capacity Building Strategy – Action Plan on the WCO Organizational Development Package, the next WCO Environmental Scan and Strategic plan 2022-2025, Report of the Global Meeting of Regional Entities, Innovation, Digitization and Data Analytics in Support of Organisational Resilience, Experts Management and Deployment, and Tailor-made and Responsive Approach to Ensure Business Continuity, among others.

Mr. Santiago Vázquez, Director of the Emerging Leadership Center at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mr. Hisham F. Abou Ibrahim, Head of Studies Department at the Higher Council of Lebanese Customs and Dr. Lois Parkes, Leadership Development and Institutional Strengthening Specialist with the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), shared their excellent experience and knowledge on the session theme during a lively and insightful panel discussion.

The 12th Session of the CBC was chaired by Mrs. Velma Ricketts-Walker, Commissioner and CEO of the Jamaica Customs Administration. Mrs. Sigfríður Gunnlaugsdóttir from the Customs Administration of Iceland was elected as the new Chair for the Committee session in 2022 and Ms Li Yan from China Customs was elected as the new Vice-Chair.

Information on the date and place for the Committee’s next session in 2022 will be given at a later stage.

For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.