WCO Strategic Plan 2022-2025: WCO launches the cycle for development of its next strategy with a Workshop on strategic foresight for the MENA region

13 noviembre 2020

On 9 and 10 November 2020, the WCO held its first Virtual Workshop on strategic foresight with the North of Africa, Near and Middle East (MENA) region. This Workshop is the first of its kind by way of preparing the next Strategic Plan, and similar exercises will follow in the other WCO regions.

The Regional Workshops will offer the opportunity to all WCO Members to contribute to the development of the next Environmental Scan, which will follow a strategic foresight approach and constitute the basis of the Strategic Plan covering the years 2022-2025. The Environmental Scan, adopting this new structure, will be presented for adoption to the Policy Commission and Council in June 2021.

The Workshop was jointly chaired by Mr. Ahmed H. Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Customs and WCO Council Vice-Chair for the MENA region, and Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, WCO Deputy Secretary General. Thirteen of the MENA region’s eighteen Member countries were in attendance.

In his introductory remarks, the Vice-Chair for the MENA region highlighted the need to anticipate the future in the best possible way and stressed that active participation from the WCO regions would be crucial to this end. He stated that foresight was a prerequisite for strategic planning, and welcomed the timeliness of the strategic foresight Workshops organized by the WCO in this context.  

The Deputy Secretary General was glad to see the number of participants who had registered to take part in the Workshop and thanked the Vice-Chair and the Members of the region for being able to join under the current circumstances. He gave additional details on the Secretariat’s plans to further link the Environmental Scan and the Strategic Plan, as decided by the Policy Commission in 2019, and reiterated that it was important that participants contribute actively during the Regional Workshops in order to prepare for the future in a collaborative manner.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) Joint Research Centre then gave introductory presentations in order to familiarize delegates with the principles of strategic foresight and how these could be applied in specific terms at policy level. This formed the basis for participants’ suggestions on the methodology to be followed by the WCO in the development of the Environmental Scan.

On the second day of the Workshop, Members of the region actively contributed to discussions on the possible future of Customs in the MENA region and in various areas globally. Trends in de-globalization, IT and blockchains, and the need to find alternative ways of securing enough income for Customs and the WCO, were the areas most mentioned as to where particular attention should be given now and in the future by the WCO as a whole.