The WCO Global online HRM Conference paves the way for generation HRM 4.0 in Customs

27 January 2021

From 19 to 21 January 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) successfully organized its first Global HRM (Human Resource Management) Conference, under the theme Managing HR through crisis and beyond. The conference, attended by over 1000 participants, provided a platform for sharing and collecting international best practices related to the role of Customs HR professionals in managing the COVID-19 crisis and potentially future similar crises, supporting Customs executive and professional HR personnel to effectively lead the response to current and future crises.

In his opening remarks, WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stated “The crisis has confirmed that ‘people’ are Customs administrations’ most valuable asset and they are the driving force that shape change, including the mobilization of technologies and strengthening collaboration.” Secretary General Mikuriya added that “Customs officers have shown tremendous courage and leadership during the crisis, risking their lives to protect citizens, and administrations should commend their efforts and ensure their heightened protection.”

The conference benefited from insights and guidance from widely recognized leaders in different fields, Customs DGs and HRM Directors, international organizations, academia, and private sector among others. It covered the effects and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic related to key HRM topics ranging from leadership, HR services’ business continuity, organizational work design, staff resilience and well-being at work, learning and development as well as performance management.

The conference also provided participants with an updated view of the crisis from the HR perspective as well as practical people management and development measures that can be applied immediately to drive the Customs operations towards success. The WCO also informed the participants about the development of the guide on “HRM in times of crisis in a Customs Environment.” This guide will take into account the conference’s findings and recommendations.

The participants appreciated WCO’s initiative for this innovative conference and encouraged the WCO Secretariat to continue organizing HR-focused global conferences or events on a regular basis.

For more information about this conference and the WCO People Development offer, please contact