Activities and Programmes

Activities of the WCO Secretariat on Integrity development

The WCO has been undertaking integrity-related activities with its Members for several decades, including the years prior and leading up to the first Arusha Declaration Concerning Good Governance and Integrity in Customs adopted by the WCO Council in 1993.

Since 2001, these activities have been guided by the WCO’s Integrity Sub-Committee (ISC), which gathers each year in Brussels and reports to the WCO Policy Commission. The active work of this Sub-Committee is testimony of Customs’ dedication to the topic and their will to enhance cooperation with international organizations and to take concrete actions to address integrity issues.

During the 22nd Session of the ISC, delegates endorsed a draft Work Programme (WP) for 2022-2025. This WP provides reporting information on current and future activities related to integrity. It supports alignment and visibility of the links between activities to be undertaken and their contribution to the realization of the objectives and priorities of the WCO Strategic Plan 2022-2025. Each activity of the Work Programme is linked to one of the following core functions, namely SP1 Develop, maintain and implement instruments; SP2 Foster Customs cooperation; SP3 Build capacity.

Examples of areas of work within the current ISC WP include the creation of a new suite of integrity-related tools and information available to all WCO Members. These tools are available to all Members and can be accessed here on the WCO website in multiple languages. Recent materials include a new Internal Affairs e-learning course on the WCO CLiKC! platform, methodological guidelines for a Customs Integrity Perception Survey, and a Guidance note on Gender equality, diversity and integrity.

The ISC WP also guides work to strengthen Members’ capacity to implement integrity-related initiatives. As part of this work, the WCO has continued to further consolidate the training curriculum on internal affairs and the culture of integrity, including planning and conducting related capacity building activities under the WCO A-CIP Programme, which also delivers technical assistance and capacity building (TACB) in topics related to the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration.

Lastly, the ISC WP promotes increased cooperation on matters of integrity in Customs. The WCO has continued to engage with key partners on integrity matters. These partners have included but are not limited to cooperation with other WCO bodies, including the WCO Regional Vice-Chairs through regional workshops, other WCO Programmes through the Performance Measurement Working Group, the Gender Equality and Diversity Working Group, the Enforcement Sub-Directorate.

The WCO has also been increasing engagement with external partners, through the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group and other key stakeholders in the international anti-corruption community. The WCO continues to give visibility to the fight against corruption and promotion of integrity through different for a and media such as WCO Integrity Newsletter, WCO A-CIP Programme Newsflash, international symposia and conferences on integrity-related themes, as well as during International Anti-Corruption Day, December 9.

An important vehicle for realizing the ISC WP is the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme for Customs. Initiated in 2019, the A-CIP Programme responds to the recognized high costs of corruption in Customs. This Programme was made possible with an initial investment of €5m from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), which was later expanded with further funding from Norway and support from other donors, principally, Canada. The governments of China, the United Kingdom, Korea, Sweden and Switzerland have also made financial contributions in support of this topic at the WCO. Members are encouraged to consider how funding may continued to be secured for this topic to ensure the sustainability of actions to build integrity which underpins all areas of Customs mandate: security, trade facilitation and revenue.