Successful completion of the WCO PICARD Conference 2021

10 diciembre 2021

On 9 and 10 December 2021, the World Customs Organization (WCO) held the 16th PICARD Conference, which is an international platform to foster dialogue among Customs, the academic community and the private sector. The event attracted approximately around 800 registered participants from more than 110 countries.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO, reiterated the importance of continued dialogue and partnership between Customs administrations and academia. He stressed that Customs administrations needed to keep pace with recent trends, including data analytics and the circular economy, without losing sight of the fact that traditional Customs missions such as revenue collection, border security and trade facilitation are still extremely important. Dr. Mikuriya also took this opportunity to announce the WCO's theme for 2022: “Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem”.

The Conference, which featured distinguished speakers and moderators from both Customs and academia, comprised 15 sessions covering the following three main themes: data analytics, COVID-19 and the circular economy.

During two sessions on data analytics, Customs shared hands-on experience of topics including risk analysis, fraud detection and geodata, while the academic community presented emerging technologies and recent developments.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, two sessions were dedicated to COVID-19 related topics. In the two years since the pandemic was declared, Customs administrations and the private sector have learnt many lessons, including how to facilitate the trade in medical supplies, respond to large variations in the volume of trade and protect frontline Customs officers against the disease.

The circular economy is a very highly topical issue for the global community and Customs administrations need to be prepared for this new trend. Two sessions were dedicated to this topic, and renowned academics and researchers introduced the latest policy trends and findings in this area.

The Conference also addressed other important topics such as border security, innovations in facilitation, and education and training for Customs officials.

On the morning of Day 2 of the Conference, Dr. Mikuriya gave a speech describing the WCO’s view of the environment in which Customs administrations are operating and the strategy adopted to support Members in addressing the issues faced.

The Secretary General then went on to sign two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Clermont Auvergne University, France, represented by Dr. Grégoire Rota Graziosi, and the University of Victoria, Canada, represented by Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly. The signature of the MoUs will further enhance their cooperation and research capacities of the WCO.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Taeil Kang, WCO Director for Capacity Building, summarized the main outcomes of the Conference and thanked all those having contributed to the success of PICARD 2021.

The Conference was supported by the Korea Customs Service. A recording of the proceedings will be made available on the WCO’s YouTube channel and details of the next Conference will be announced at a later date.