On 7 and 8 February 2023, the Asia/Pacific Regional Vice-Chair (APVC), Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and Comptroller-General of Customs, Michael Outram APM, along with Wold Customs Organization (WCO) Deputy Secretary General (DSG) Ricardo Treviño Chapa, hosted a virtual Caucus with the Asia/Pacific as part of the WCO’s Regional consultations on the development of the WCO Modernization Plan. The WCO Modernization Plan is the first large scale reform of the Organisation since its establishment in 1952.
The development of the WCO Modernization Plan will look to help implement reform, engender good governance and apply best-practices across multiple aspects to ensure the WCO is well-positioned to deliver on its Members’ priorities, needs and interests while ensuring global leadership on Customs matters that is resilient to external factors and changes.
The APVC opened the meeting by welcoming the DSG and thanking all participants for their investment in this critical initiative, that will be contingent on Members’ interest and will. The DSG echoed this in his opening remarks by reiterating that modernisation will be Member-driven and highlighted that this was expressed in the previous consultations with the other five Regions. The DSG also discussed important matters under consideration within the WCO Modernization plan, including institutional performance and impact measurement, WCO Project Management and WCO structure. The day’s topics generated significant discussion with a breadth of perspectives from the region’s diverse Membership.
The second day involved discussions on the status, role and responsibilities of Regional Entities, Human Resources management, fiscal considerations, and a review of the management of internal and external stakeholder relationships, including the private sector. Members eagerly engaged with the discussion and helped provide useful feedback and insight to inform the development of the WCO Modernization Plan.
The consultation is the first of several planned engagements with the Region and its Members to discuss WCO reform and modernisation. It provided an important opportunity for Members to discuss WCO modernisation, hear from the WCO Secretariat and reflect on what the WCO modernisation initiative could entail and how it could best work for the region.
The Asia/Pacific Region looks forward to continuing to contribute to this initiative.