Promising conclusions of the first meeting of the WCO Customs Work Organization Forum (CWOF) – Building together the Future of Work in Customs

19 December 2022

Building on the success and outcomes of the WCO Human Capital Management Global Conference and as part of the recommendations and guidance from delegates of the 13th Session of the CBC, the 86th Session of the Policy Commission and 139th /140th Sessions of the Council, the WCO launched a survey on working models in Customs in the “New Normal” and established the WCO Customs’ Work Organization Forum (CWOF) to reimagine the future of work in Customs and to launch discussions on the way forward for work setup, workplace design and workforce management in the “new normal”.

The first meeting of the WCO CWOF was held virtually on the 13th of December, 2022. The meeting brought together 700 registered participants representing 169 countries around the world. Participants were Directors General,  Commissioners, Directors, Human Capital Management professionals, Customs specialists, Professors, Consultants etc., from Customs administrations, the private sector, international organizations, academia, private consultants, and civil society.

The Forum was a great opportunity for all actors to exchange views and good practices and share some of the challenges and lessons learned about individual approaches when moving away from the short-term continuity and contingency working models observed during the pandemic towards sustainable working models of the future for more resilience and performance. A total of 10 interventions from representatives of Customs administrations, the private sector, international organizations, academia, consultants and civil society have been recorded. The inputs and views shared by the speakers and posted by the participants provided solid food for thought and paved the way for the Future of Work in Customs. The high-level deliberations and discussions during the meeting provided participants with up-to-date advice and top tips on how Customs administrations should embed a new working model culture into their organization, benefiting from the critical role of technology and building on people and leadership.

During the meeting, the participants approved the proposed Terms of Reference of the CWOF and nominated the facilitator of the Forum’s meetings for one year, as well as the facilitators of the three commissions, namely: Customs Work Setup and processes, Workplace Design and Workforce Management. The WCO shared with the participants the survey analysis and main findings.

As a way forward, two meetings of WCO CWOF are expected to be held in May and October 2023. The three commissions will be meeting with all interested participants to share ideas and best practices. The WCO will soon invite all interested Members to share case studies to collect trends and bests practices in the area of Customs’ work setup, workplace design and workforce management. The inputs of these activities will inform the development of a Compendium and a Guide on best practices in this field.

For more information about the CWOF and its activities, as well as the WCO People Development offer, please contact