International Anti-Corruption Day: WCO Members take concrete actions against corruption

09 December 2022

The international community recognizes that institution-specific responses to corruption are critical and needed. Ground-level institutions of the public sector such as Customs can be the front line for this work. 

The global Customs community, with the World Customs Organization (WCO) leading the way, has identified and implemented innovative integrity initiatives that are tailored to their specific administrative and operational environment. It acknowledges that institution-specific responses to corruption are not only needed, but are critical as Customs is the first line of defense and an important link in the supply chain. This Customs-centric approach is outlined in the WCO’s key policy instrument, the Revised Arusha Declaration Concerning Good Governance and Integrity in Customs, and steered by its active working body, the WCO Integrity Sub-Committee.

Indeed, over the past few years, the WCO has supported its Members in taking a number of concrete steps to put integrity and anti-corruption policies into practice. Among them, the Customs community has been using institution-specific integrity assessments and targeted integrity perception surveys and conducted corruption risk mapping of specific Customs administrative and operational processes. Mainstreaming integrity education amidst other Customs technical topics has also been a priority of WCO Members. They have also strongly committed, over the past years, to strengthen internal affairs in the context of a Customs environment, and promote collective action by helping Customs engage with other actors in the fight against corruption.

Many of these Customs-specific actions have taken place under the WCO Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion Programme (A-CIP) for Customs, funded by Norway and Canada. This Programme aims at improving the business and law enforcement environment for cross-border trade in selected Member countries by making changes to the operational and administrative context that restricts corrupt behaviour and promotes good governance in Customs services. These changes are guided by and in line with the ten key factors of the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration.

The United Nations designated 9 December International Anti-Corruption Day, in order to raise awareness of corruption around the world and to highlight the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (A/RES/58/4). For the occasion, partner administrations of the WCO's A-CIP Programme for Customs have been reflecting on the importance of institution-specific approaches to this critical issue. They have all been translating high level anti-corruption strategies into concrete responses that are relevant in the day-to-day practice of Customs.

Customs administrations are key players within the cross-border trade environment, and their contribution is critical in tackling cross-border crime, facilitating trade, and building economies. The WCO aims at inspiring other public institutions, increase knowledge on the matter, and expand the network for collective action in combatting corruption in the public sector.

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