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WCO A-CIP Programme holds its annual Coordinators Meeting

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BRUSSELS : On 1 and 2 March 2023, Member representatives responsible for coordinating the WCO Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme across the 23 active partner administrations met at the WCO Secretariat in Brussels for the first time since 2020.

The participants were welcomed by the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, as well as Mr. Alain Gendron, Ambassador of Canada to Belgium, and Ms. Toril Iren Pedersen, Assistant Director at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), representing the A-CIP Programme’s two funding partners.

In his opening remarks, the WCO Secretary General reminded the audience that the WCO A-CIP Programme provides dedicated technical assistance and capacity building support to Members seeking to implement initiatives in line with the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration. While commending the work done by the A-CIP Programme in setting standards, creating a pool of integrity experts, providing tools and fostering cooperation through the sharing of best practices, he also underlined the efforts made to identify and promote institution-specific responses to corruption. Finally, he thanked the A-CIP donors: Norway, via the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the government of Canada.

Ms. Toril Iren Pedersen particularly praised the A-CIP Programme’s innovative Customs Integrity Perception Survey (CIPS) and its several thousands of respondents among Customs and the private sector. She went on to say that the A-CIP Programme could be a model for other capacity building programmes in its use of data. Ms. Pedersen also commended the A-CIP Programme for the tools and instruments it created and contributed to develop, including the internal control training curriculum and the recently released internal affairs e-learning module, all those contributing to moving the WCO integrity agenda forward.

Ambassador Gendron emphasized Canada’s strong support to combat corruption and illicit trade and valued the work of the WCO to strengthen Customs institutions. He also underlined the support provided by the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) in assisting A-CIP’s beneficiary countries in fighting against corruption, increasing regional security and responding to the threats posed by transnational organized crime. He noted that maintaining strong partnerships is crucial to all Customs administrations, as they help to foster and align common values and goals; and provide opportunities to share knowledge, experiences and successes. These elements contribute to strengthening Customs administrations for the future. Meetings like the present annual Coordinators’ Meeting, are perfect opportunities to strengthen these partnerships.

During the two-day meeting, A-CIP partners had the opportunity to share their experiences and best practices with the Programme so far, focusing in particular on their efforts in the areas of collective action, data analysis and performance measurement, as well as synergies with other initiatives. Discussions also focused on communities of practice, particularly in the WCO Americas/Caribbean region and around the several e-learning events conducted by the A-CIP Programme. Special attention was given to the WCO Performance Measurement Mechanism and how A-CIP beneficiaries could ensure results through tools like the Customs Integrity Perception Survey.

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