Norad and the WCO launch the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion Programme
In January 2019, the WCO launched the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) Programme to assist selected WCO Member Customs administrations in implementing measures to combat corruption and promote integrity in accordance with the 10 measures listed in the WCO Revised Arusha Declaration on good governance and integrity in Customs.
Unpacking the programme
Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the A-CIP Programme will run for five years. It was designed around lessons learned from previous WCO anti-corruption initiatives and has two components: a bilateral component, which is country-specific, supporting specified outcomes; and a multilateral component, which is region-specific, taking ongoing regional initiatives into account.
Partner administrations and expectations
Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Tunisia are the A-CIP Programme’s initial partner administrations. Each is expected to develop a multi-annual action plan along with clear benchmarks and performance measurement criteria. As some of these countries already benefit from other WCO programmes and activities, the action plan will be incorporated into their wider reform agenda and leverage other national and international anti-corruption initiatives.
Activities get underway
The first activity under the bilateral component was undertaken in Sierra Leone in March. Working in close collaboration, WCO experts and representatives from various departments of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) commenced a review of their integrity strategy and action plan. Specific steps were taken to meet an immediate priority, namely the establishment of a new Internal Affairs Unit.
Under the multilateral component, the first activity was undertaken in Ghana, also in March, to support Customs experts from 15 Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). After sharing details on their respective integrity regimes and identifying key elements to include in such a framework, they produced a policy document that will form the basis of an ECOWAS-wide Customs integrity framework.
Interested donors sought
Several additional WCO Members have expressed an interest in benefiting from the A-CIP Programme. To this end, the WCO invites donors interested in the initiative and willing to fund similar activities in other countries or regions to kindly take up contact.