19th session of the Integrity Sub-Committee highlights the importance of Building Trust in the Digital Era

02 marzo 2020

The 19th session of the WCO Integrity Sub-committee was held on 20 and 21 February 2020 with the theme "BUILDING TRUST IN THE DIGITAL ERA". Approximately 160 delegates representing Member administrations and stakeholder organizations took part in the 19th session of the Integrity Sub-committee (ISC). The 19th session of the ISC was chaired by Mr. Carlos Enriquez Montes, from Mexico Tax Administration.

In his welcome address, the WCO Deputy Secretary General Mr. R. Trevino Chapa stressed the importance of integrity for the WCO and its Members and informed delegates that integrity is one of the 9 key priorities in the new WCO Strategic Plan. He highlighted the increasingly prominent role played by Customs and said those roles cannot be implemented without a high level of integrity and professional ethics not only inside Customs but also in the entire Customs environment involving stakeholders. Under this year’s ISC theme, he acknowledged that in the era of new technologies and digitalization, Customs authorities are increasingly faced with integrity challenges with regard to their internal systems and the security of their sensitive data.  In this regard, Customs modernization programmes and initiatives should concentrate on ensuring the right legislation, professional skills and financial investments are in place.

The Keynote Speaker, Mr. Robert Sinclair, Deputy Head of Mission of Canada to the European Union, set the tone for the ISC by confirming the importance his government places on integrity matters. When discussing how to move from theory into practice he focused on the three important aspects of moral, technical and systemic. He emphasized that technology can play a huge role in re-enforcing integrity but he reminded delegates to remember that behind every piece of technology is a person.

Through a series of presentations from public and private sectors and subsequent discussions, the ISC delegates were given useful insight on the importance of building trust with the private sector, data analytics in support of fighting corruption, competency based HRM to enhance integrity, challenges faced by political interference in Customs, and enhancing co-operation and information exchange between Customs and state anti-corruption authorities. Delegates were also informed of the latest activities of the WCO Secretariat on integrity development.

Members’ representatives from Mauritius, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, China, Gambia, Mali, Liberia, Kenya, Czech Republic, as well as the speakers from International Anti-Corruption Academy, European Affairs Expertise, Basel Institute on Governance and the University of Birmingham, shared their excellent experiences on the abovementioned topics and contributed to the success of the session.

Mr. Carlos Enriquez Montes, of Mexico Tax Administration, was re-elected as the Chairperson of the ISC and Mr. Marcellin Djeuwo, of Cameroon Customs, was elected as the Vice-Chair of the ISC.

For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.