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WCO Environmental Scan: a strategic resource for Customs administrations

Taking stock of the global trends affecting trade is critical for Customs administrations who have to adapt constantly to industry and consumer practices as well as to emerging risks. To help WCO Members understand the social, political, economic, technological and legal developments as well as the impact that these developments could have on the way Customs operates, the WCO Secretariat has been producing a document for the last 10 years known as the “WCO Environmental Scan.”

In 2019, a stronger focus was put on explaining how Customs could respond to the emerging trends, and linkages were made between the Environmental Scan and the WCO’s Strategic Plan. This constituted a first step towards the transformation of the Scan into a more strategic resource that would better help WCO Members in determining the future direction of the Organization.

At the WCO Policy Commission meeting in December 2019, delegates unanimously acknowledged the strategic importance of the Environmental Scan, and agreed that the results of the Scan and the analyses drawn therefrom should guide the overall strategy of the WCO. Discussing the list of topics to be addressed in the document, delegates insisted on the need to include issues impacting not only Customs, but also other governmental agencies and the private sector.

The next Environmental Scan, taking on board the comments expressed by delegates to the WCO Policy Commission, will be published in June 2020.

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