SAFE Working Group

Approved by the Policy Commission - December 2014

Confirmed by the Council - June 2015

Revised by the SAFE Working Group – October 2022

Revised ToR approved by the Policy Commission – June 2023

Revised ToR confirmed by the Council – June 2023

Customs Co-Chairperson : Representative of a WCO Member administration

Customs Vice-Chairperson: Representative of a WCO Member administration

Private Sector Co-Chairperson : Representative of the Private Sector Consultative Group

Private Sector Vice-Chairperson : Representative of the Private Sector consultative Group

Established : 2007

Duration : Until superseded or revoked

1. Mandate

The SAFE Working Group, acting under authority of paragraph 68 of the June 2007 Report of the Policy Commission (Doc. SP0250), and as referenced in paragraph 69 of the Minutes of the 2007 Customs Co-operation Council (Doc. SC0082), is formed as the successor to the High Level Strategic Group for the purpose of maintaining and further developing the SAFE Framework of Standards. The SAFE Working Group will operate at two levels: a level dealing with policy matters concerning which it shall be guided by and report to the Policy Commission; and, a second level dealing with technical amendments to the SAFE Framework regarding which it will be guided by and report to the Permanent Technical Committee. It shall also advise these bodies, as well as the Secretary General, on progress and issues relating to, and arising from, implementation, maintenance and/or amendment of the SAFE Framework of Standards and implementation of the Columbus Programme.

2. Membership

The membership will be open to all interested Members of the WCO, members of the Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG), and parties with recognized WCO observer status. The PSCG, will be guided in its independent operations by the provisions found in its own Terms of Reference document.

3. Purpose and Scope

The purpose and scope of the SAFE Working Group is to advise, as appropriate, the Policy Commission, the Permanent Technical Committee and the Secretary General on the full range of issues concerning the SAFE Framework of Standards. Such issues may include matters relating to implementation and amendments concerning the SAFE Framework and further developing and monitoring other WCO initiatives and related Customs matters that impact the operation of the SAFE Framework of Standards. In relation to these matters, specific work will be carried out by the Group and brought forward to the appropriate body for endorsement or further direction. Required tasks will be carried out in periodic meetings convened by the Secretariat and presided over by the Co-Chairpersons (Customs and PSCG) designated by the Group.

4. Key Deliverables

The SAFE Working Group key deliverables are to :

  • develop a Work Programme in accordance with the WCO Strategic Plan. This work Programme will include Customs-Private sector engagement which would highlight mutual expectations and strengthen the relationship,
  • review and forward for adoption proposals for amendments in the SAFE Framework in accordance with the SAFE amendment process as adopted by the June 2008 Policy Commission/Council;
  • submit timely reports to the Policy Commission and Permanent Technical Committees, as appropriate, that shall :
    • set forth any recommendations of the SAFE Working Group with respect to the WCO SAFE Framework or its continuing implementation, and
    • update the operations of the SAFE Working Group

5. Means of Operation

The SAFE Working Group will meet under the leadership of its Co-Chairpersons, with membership being determined as specified above.

The Secretariat will arrange for a Members-only meeting, when necessary, before the convening of a meeting of the SAFE Working Group.

The Customs Co-Chairperson will serve a maximum term of two years. At the completion of the Customs Co-Chair's term the Customs Vice-Chair will assume the Chair.

The service term and continued standing of the Private Sector Co-Chairperson and any PSCG member will be as specified in the PSCG Terms of Reference. The terms of other members will remain unrestricted.

The Secretariat in consultation with the Co-chairpersons may invite from time to time any relevant persons or organizations as required including consultations and/or presentations as per the agenda.

The SAFE Working Group will work in close cooperation and consultation with other committees/groups/sub-groups and regional structures in addition to the SAFE Review subgroup.

Agendas for meetings of the SAFE Working Group will be prepared in recognition of separate meetings of the Customs and Private Sector Consultative Group delegates, as necessary. The time to be allocated for such meetings will be determined by the scope of issues to be discussed.

6. Resources Required

The SAFE Working Group will hold its sessions as and when required, and subject to approval by the appropriate bodies. It will normally meet twice a year. However, the Secretary General may determine whether circumstances dictate the need for scheduling meetings more or less frequently. The general administrative arrangements and provision of support services shall be the responsibility of the WCO Secretariat.