Two Decades of Commitment to Capacity Building - Highlights of the CBC Session

01 March 2024

The WCO Capacity Building Committee (CBC) held its 15th session from 21 to 23 February 2024 at the WCO Headquarters. The meeting was attended by over 300 representatives of Member administrations, development partners, academia and other stakeholders, actively in person and passively online.

In his opening remarks, the WCO Secretary General, Mr. Ian Saunders, reminded the delegates of the milestones in the 20 years of capacity building within the Organization, highlighting essential drivers of change such as the newly recognized role of Customs in the security of society, the use of technology and the strengthening of relationships with the private sector. In turn, these changes led to the emergence of new needs that Customs administrations had to address in a relatively short period of time at the turn of the century. All these changes led to a reorientation of the WCO’s traditional focus on training and technical assistance to support Member administrations. To adapt and meet the challenges of the day, the WCO needed to broaden its approach to capacity building and focus on Customs development in a holistic way.

The Secretary General also invited the Committee to consider the current capacity-building paradigm, taking into account factors such as the importance of prioritization in the face of limited resources, and the shared responsibility among the WCO, beneficiaries, donors and stakeholders. He went on to emphasize the importance of WCO‘s continued commitment to supporting its Members in implementing the standards set out in the WCO instruments. It is also important that the Organization ensures that this essential work remains relevant to current and anticipated needs.

In line with the WCO Theme for 2024, “Customs Engaging New and Traditional Partners with Purpose”, the main discussion of the session, a panel on “Sustaining Investment in Our Future – Prioritizing Capacity Building and Nurturing Beneficial Partnerships”, offered an opportunity for Members, beneficiaries of WCO capacity building support, donors and partner organizations to discuss how they identify, assess and prioritize capacity building and development needs, and how they build and grow structured and mutually-beneficial relationships to address those needs.

The Committee was advised of the outcomes of the 1st meeting of the Performance Measurement Mechanism Project Team (PMMPT) and the 3rd Meeting of the Working Group on Data and Statistics, as well as on the progress in different areas of work such as the WCO e-learning programme, Leadership and Management Development, Gender Equality and Diversity, Human Capital Development, and the Mercator Programme Tailor-made track. The CBC adopted updates to its Work Programme for the next year and endorsed the Compendium of Best Practices on Work Organization, Workplace Design and Workforce Management for submission to the Policy Commission and the Council in June.

Mr. Yoshiro Baba from Japan Customs was elected Chairperson, and Ms. LI Yan from China Customs was re-elected as Vice-Chairperson for the Committee session in 2025. The Committee thanked its outgoing Chairperson, Ms. Sigfríður Gunnlaugsdóttir from Iceland Revenue and Customs, recognizing her leadership and commitment to the realization of the WCO capacity-building agenda.

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