WCO engages with Europe Region on the Environmental Scan 2021-2024

18 February 2021

As part of the development of the next triennial Environmental Scan that will shape the basis of the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, the Secretariat pursued its series of consultation with the Europe Region, during the 5th dedicated regional workshop that took place on 15-16 February 2021.

The workshop was opened by the Vice-Chair for Europe Region and Chairman of the State Customs Committee (SCC) of Azerbaijan, Mr. Safar Mehdiyev. In his introductory remarks, Mr. Mehdiyev considered that building the Environmental Scan on foresight methodologies would allow the WCO and its Members to better prepare the future. He welcomed the reinforcement of the linkages between the Environmental Scan and the Strategic Plan, which would offer the adequate material to better understand the environment surrounding Customs, allowing the WCO to better plan its future activities and move towards an outcome-based approach. He reminded that Europe Region was the biggest one within the WCO in terms of Members and that its spirit was driven by a continuous innovation to support the economy. He underlined his personal commitment, as well as the commitment of the entire region, on the work undertaken in the context of the Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

The Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, welcomed delegates and acknowledged that the Europe Region was ahead in many issues regarding innovation. He explained how the Environmental Scan had significantly evolved in the past two years, implying more research, analysis, and adding some considerations for Customs’ responses in light of the identified global trends. He declared that, following December 2019 Policy Commission’s discussions, the objective was now to base the specific actions contained in the Strategic Plan on the outcomes and observations highlighted by the Environmental Scan, making the overall strategy of the WCO more relevant for the future of WCO and Customs administrations. He encouraged Members for active participation, reminding the importance of inclusiveness in the strategic initiatives undertaken by the Secretariat.

During lively discussions, the participants provided valuable inputs regarding the way to address the main risk areas identified in the Audit Plan of the WCO as well as on the current and future challenges and opportunities for Customs that should be addressed in the Environmental Scan and the Strategic Plan 2022-2025. They particularly insisted on the need to move towards fully digitalized Customs and procedures, taking into account the differences in WCO Members’ development on these aspects, on the need to focus on the resilience and recovery of economies in a post-pandemic world, acknowledging the fast-changing face of supply chains and traders, and on the necessity for Customs to contribute to the greening of the economy and to address the questions arising from the circular economy.

The consultation process regarding the Environmental Scan will take an end after the last Regional Workshop for Americas and Caribbean Region, planned on the 1st and 2nd of March 2021.