12/09/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/09/2019 04:45
International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003. It aims to raise public awareness for the need to combat corruption, particularly as it is one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Acknowledging the high costs of corruption in Customs to both public and private sectors, and risks posed to both economic prosperity and national security, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and its Members have placed corruption and integrity on top of their agendas. Consecutively, the WCO's policy document Customs in the 21st Century emphasizes importance of the fight against corruption, the safeguarding of integrity and the enhancement of good governance measures.
Furthermore, the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration Concerning Good Governance and Integrity in Customs provides Customs administrations with a practical approach for anti-corruption policies and practices as stipulated in the UNCAC Article 5 and aligns with and encompasses elements of a number of other Articles of the Convention relating to codes of conduct, transparency in the public sector, and engagement with the private sector as a key partner against corruption.
The Revised Arusha Declaration is the focal point for the WCO's anti-corruption and integrity development efforts. The WCO also acts as a steward of best practices on integrity, and has developed a number of tools and expert resources to help Members' anti-corruption efforts and has sought ways to meet Members' expressed need for more focused and sustained support to their integrity initiatives.
In this regard, in January 2019, the WCO launched the Anti-Corruption & Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme for Customs. This technical assistance and capacity building programme aims at supporting selected WCO Members make necessary changes to the operational and administrative context that restricts corrupt behavior and promotes good governance in Customs operations. Thus bringing more Members in line with the Revised Arusha Declaration.
With the assistance of the WCO's donor partners, especially the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the A-CIP Programme is growing in reach to include more of its Members who have demonstrated interest and commitment. The Programme is also helping to highlight complementarities between the WCO's work in this space with that of other institutions such as UNODC and UNDP, strengthening international cooperation to achieve common anti-corruption outcomes.
Finally, the WCO's commitment in this important area most recently evident in the inclusion of integrity as a key priority area in the WCO Strategic Plan covering the period 2019-2022. Further development of WCO tools and instruments, technical assistance and capacity building for its Members are planned under this priority area. As a result, integrity as a cross-cutting issue is increasingly being included as a key topic on the agenda across the WCO's technical activities.
The WCO would like to take this opportunity of the International Anti-Corruption Day to acknowledge all of its Members who are taking direct action and making clear commitments to address this important issue.