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Customs administrations around the world play a key role in trade facilitation, revenue collection, community protection and national security. As such, the lack of integrity in Customs can distort trade and investment opportunities, undermine public trust in government administration and ultimately jeopardize the well-being of all citizens. Integrity is a prerequisite for the proper functioning of a Customs administration.

In light of this, the WCO has committed all three of its core functions – standard setting, cooperation, and capacity building – to support its Members build integrity and fight corruption:

  • Cooperation: the WCO established the Integrity Sub-Committee (ISC) in 2001 with the purpose to act as a focal point for the design, development, implementation and evaluation of the WCO Integrity Action Plan and Integrity-related tools. The ISC advise the Council, through the Policy Commission, on the appropriateness of WCO strategies and priorities necessary to promote the importance of Integrity and ensure the effective implementation of the Revised Arusha Declaration on Integrity in Customs. It provides a forum for the exchange of views, experiences and best-practice approaches between Member administrations. Finally, the ISC ensures effective co-ordination and promotion of integrity-related activities with the private sector and other international organizations and the integration of integrity principles in all WCO training and technical assistance programmes, conventions and other instruments.
  • Standard setting: amongst WCO wide range of integrity tools and instruments, the Revised Arusha Declarationis the focal instrument to prevent corruption and increase the level of integrity in Customs. It provides Customs administrations with a practical approach for anti-corruption policies and practices as stipulated in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Article 5. The Declaration also aligns with UNCAC Articles 7 (Public Sector), 8 (Codes of Conduct for Public Officials), 10 (Public reporting), and encompasses elements of a number of other Articles of the Convention relating to transparency and engagement with the private sector.
  • Capacity building: Amidst its capacity building support to all Members, the WCO Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme for Customs is WCO’s flagship multi-annual initiative for institution-specific approaches to combatting corruption. The Programme concentrates capacity building efforts in combatting corruption and promoting integrity in Customs, thus improving the business environment for cross-border trade for a number of selected WCO members. Articulated around the Revised Arusha Declaration and other WCO integrity tools, it complements other initiatives such as WCO Trade Facilitation, Enforcement, and Security Programmes. Thanks to its funding partners and Member contributions of expertise, the WCO A-CIP Programme has been instrumental in realizing the ISC Work Programme 2022-2025.

    In 2023 alone, more than 20 Members across several WCO regions officially expressed interest in becoming partner administrations of the Programme. Support to these Members will be dependent on future funding becoming available. Potential donors can be assured by a recent independent evaluators’ clear assessment that the Programme offers excellent value for money and delivers results.

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