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IPR Accreditation Workshop organized for the WCO West and Central Africa region

31 enero 2022

As part of its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Strategy 2020, from 24 to 28 January 2022 the World Customs Organization (WCO) successfully conducted a Regional Accreditation Workshop in the WCO West and Central Africa (WCA) region for Technical Operational Advisers (TOAs) in the IPR field. The Workshop, held in Lomé (Togo), was made possible thanks to financial support from the Customs Cooperation Fund of Japan (CCF/Japan).

Ten Customs officers from eight WCA region administrations, namely Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Gabon, Cameroon and Togo, participated in the Workshop and demonstrated their skills in the IPR field, with the goal of becoming WCO Accredited Experts.

This event was aimed at establishing a pool of French-speaking TOAs in the IPR field, capable of independently conducting IPR workshops on behalf of the WCO. The WCA region has always been strategically important for Customs enforcement of IPR at borders. As such, it was chosen to host this Workshop in response to the growing number of requests for technical assistance by WCA Customs administrations which are faced with ever more sophisticated counterfeiting and piracy methods.

The TOA accreditation process comprises two phases. The first phase consists of organizing a workshop to identify participants with a high degree of potential. The second phase consists of inviting the candidates selected during the first phase to participate in a field mission, in order to assess their ability to facilitate capacity-building activities in the IPR domain. Only participants having successfully completed the workshop phase can proceed to the field mission phase. Once fully accredited, the Accredited Experts are expected to facilitate IPR-related missions and offer practical advice to Members wishing to enhance their IPR enforcement measures and capabilities.  

During the five-day intensive Workshop, participants demonstrated their IPR knowledge and skills through a range of exercises, including presentations, discussions and role-play. The entire event was facilitated jointly by three Experts from the WCO Secretariat, one providing support on site in Lomé and other two providing support remotely from WCO Headquarters in Brussels.

This Workshop was the first of its kind held outside Brussels in 2022 as part of the IPR, Health and Safety Programme.