The Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme

Launched in January 2019, the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme responds to the recognised high costs of corruption in customs. The Programme aims at improving the business and law enforcement environment for cross-border trade in selected WCO member countries by making changes to the operational and administrative context that restricts corrupt behavior and promotes good governance in Customs services. These changes are guided by and in line with the ten key factors of the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration Concerning Good Governance and Integrity in Customs.

The Programme design has taken into account lessons learned from previous WCO programmes as well as global experiences and insights into the challenges for technical assistance and capacity building in the fight against corruption. In particular, A-CIP activities leverage collective action, performance measurement and data analysis, as well as synergies with other initiatives, as implementation principles for achieving results.

Under the bilateral component, the Programme is the primary vehicle for select WCO Members to receive sustainable related technical assistance and capacity building support over a multi-annual period. Its approach considers that combating corruption and instilling integrity behaviours within an institution takes time. The Programme delivers assistance to WCO Member undertaking measures to implement priority areas of the Revised Arusha Declaration. A multi-annual action plan is developed for each administration, with clear benchmarks and performance measurement criteria.

Under the multilateral component, the Programme creates an enabling environment for WCO Members to implement A-CIP measures by leveraging regional and international initiatives in parallel, and to build WCO instruments and tools. Moreover, the multilateral component ensures relevant insights and lessons learned from work on the country level are accessible to all WCO Members. It is also aligned with the new WCO Integrity Sub-Committee (ISC) Work Programme 2022-2025, ensuring consistency with the needs and views of Member administrations.

Delivering Results

Across the Programme, tailored results indicators show that all participating administrations have made concrete progress towards their specific objectives. This progress was acknowledged by a mid-term external evaluation in 2023, which assessed that the Programme was on track to achieve its results.

At the outcome level, behavioural changes are tracked using data from the Customs Integrity Perception Survey (CIPS), developed through the Programme specifically for this purpose. To date, more than 14,000 Customs officials and 10,500 private sector representatives have responded to the survey. The second iteration of CIPS, delivered in 17 countries in 2023, provided an opportunity to track progress towards these outcomes.

The results of this second iteration of CIPS demonstrated an overall positive direction of perceptions linked to all Revised Arusha Declaration key factor areas.

More specifically, improvement of perceptions across all respondents was recorded in more than 79% of the key factors under which specific initiatives were made with direct support from the WCO A-CIP Programme across all 17 countries, in contrast with 67% improvement for the key factors that were indirectly supported by the Programme.

In addition to delivering results at the country level, the multilateral component of the WCO A-CIP Programme has been instrumental in realizing the Integrity Sub-Committee (ISC) Work Programme 2022-2025. Most (96%) of the investment in integrity-related work over this period has been delivered through the WCO’s A-CIP Programme. This investment has ensured that the progress towards the ISC Work Programme has remained on track and has already delivered half of the activities identified for implementation within the Programme’s timeframe.

A-CIP Programme Funding

With initial financing from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and additional funding from Canada, the A-CIP Programme currently supports more than 20 beneficiary countries in their efforts to combat corruption and promote integrity.

Nevertheless, interest from other Members remains high. For example, although corruption was identified as a critical issue to Members from East Asian sub-region during the WCO’s Hot Zone Prioritization Forum (HZPF) in October 2022, funding to support Members from this region through the WCO A-CIP Programme has not yet been available.

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. The Programme also remains the flagship for institution-specific approaches to combatting corruption.

A-CIP Programme Links with Other Initiatives

The A-CIP Programme helps Members build foundations of integrity, which is essential for the proper functioning of a Customs administration and underpins effective security, trade facilitation and revenue generation. It therefore complements other WCO programmes in enforcement and security such as the WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and trade facilitation such as the WCO Mercator Programme. Its efforts align with the WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) as well as the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA) which call for transparency and predictability, promoting integrity and closing opportunities for corruption.

The A-CIP Programme also acts as an important delivery mechanisms for WCO Members to contribute to their national commitments under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). It does this through employing country-led, institution-specific practical approaches for anti-corruption policies as embodied in the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration and stipulated in the UNCAC.

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