Fifth regional consultation on the WCO Strategic Plan with the Europe region

11 octubre 2021

On 7 and 8 October 2021, the fifth regional consultation on the next Strategic Plan was conducted with the Europe region. The session was jointly chaired by the Vice-Chair for the Europe region, Mr. Konstantinos Mourtidis from the Greece Customs Administration, and the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa. Approximately 70 participants attended the session, which was held virtually.

In his introductory remarks, the Vice-Chair for the Europe region highlighted the significant progress made by the Secretariat in strategic planning over recent years. He felt that the Organization’s limited resources called for an appropriate prioritization of topics and activities, which should include internal and external factors of importance to the WCO and Customs administrations. He hoped that the Europe region’s contribution would enrich the development of a suitable strategy for the WCO in the future. The WCO Deputy Secretary General echoed the fact that effective prioritization of topics was a matter of primary importance for the future of the Organization and that the Environmental Scan had to be implemented as part of a concrete strategy taking account of this crucial aspect. He thanked the Vice-Chair for his commitment to and leadership of this regional consultation.

Turning to the future strategy of the Organization, participants held broad discussions on the features and priorities of the next Strategic Plan. They stressed the importance of keeping Customs’ core functions as an absolute priority for the WCO, to be supported by the right approach to the rapidly changing environment. In particular, they were of the view that enhancing data sharing between Customs and further involving other stakeholders in this process, including other border agencies and the private sector, provided a relevant response to current and future challenges faced by Customs. They also touched upon the sustainability of the WCO as an Organization, with the need to remain highly influential on the global stage and to better publicize the contribution made by Customs through a proper communication strategy and the use of data analytics. They underscored the need to devise a forward-looking Strategic Plan that would clearly state, not only to Customs but also to external stakeholders, how the WCO would address future developments and the Organization’s strategic direction to that end.

These consultations will define the new WCO Strategic Plan, following the same approach as for the previous strategy and Environmental Scan. Full involvement by Members has already proven invaluable when drafting these documents, ensuring that the entire Organization shares a single vision and is moving towards achieving the same objectives.