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Green light for Capacity Building at June Policy Commission and Council Sessions

12 agosto 2009
Green light for Capacity Building at June Policy Commission and Council Sessions

12 August 2009

The 61st Policy Commission Session (22-24 June 2009) and the 113th/114th Council Sessions (26‑28 June 2009) were held at WCO Headquarters in Brussels. Progress with the WCO Capacity Building (CB) agenda and portfolios was presented at the Policy Commission session and reported to the Council. The Council approved the proposed directions. In fact, the WCO got the green light for its future approach. This endorsement can be considered as a milestone for WCO CB policy development. The Director of CB briefly introduced the CB agenda items and all his proposals/reports concerning CB, namely :

(a) the Report of the 7th Meeting of the High Level Working Group on Capacity Building (HLWG),

(b) the Columbus Programme report and

(c) progress in terms of donor co-ordination.

The Council approved :

(1) the establishment of a new Capacity Building Committee (CBC),

(2) Terms of Reference for the CBC,

(3) the convening of a temporary Working Group to prepare for the first CBC meeting,

(4) a model for PICARD Programme University curricula approval, and finally

(5) the introduction of Customs-Private Sector Integrity pilots. The first CBC meeting will be held in Spring 2010.

The WCO Secretary General, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, expressed the Organization’s very clear commitment to the priority task of providing CB support to Members. He also referred to the importance of World Cap, and the need for Member support for the updating and quality assurance of the World Cap survey.

The CB agenda item, together with the C21 building block concerning Globally Networked Customs, generated the most discussion and aroused the most interest among Members at the Policy Commission and Council sessions. Members were highly engaged in the CB discussions, and clearly signalled the priority of this topic and the need for the Secretariat to continue with implementation and modernization support for developing countries. Many Members expressed their commitment to supporting the CB agenda, including the secondment of experts for CB work through the accreditation programmes. A number of delegations announced their willingness to enhance their support and provide experts for WCO CB workshops and missions. The Director of CB, Mr. Lars Karlsson, was very pleased with the strong Member support for the WCO CB programmes, and said that the commitment expressed by Members would be vital to ensure continued WCO engagement in Customs reform and modernization.

During the Council session, the World Bank (WB) announced a major capacity building and financing programme named the Trade Facilitation Facility (TFF), with sponsorship from Sweden and Japan, offering grants and support for trade facilitation and Co-ordinated Border Management initiatives. Members stressed the need for co-ordination between different programmes, such as the new TFF and the WCO Columbus programme, in order to avoid duplication and gaps in support, and the WB gave an assurance that co‑ordination would take place.

The June 2009 Policy Commission and Council sessions provided plenty of momentum for the WCO’s CB portfolios. The Organization will now move forward with a clear vision and the delivery of tangible results.

Our gratitude goes to everyone involved in the programmes, and most of all to the Customs officers in Member countries who are involved in the day-to-day development of their administrations.