At the invitation of Mr. Safar Mehdiyev, Chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, acting in his capacity as Vice-Chair for the WCO Europe region, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, attended the Europe Region Heads of Customs Meeting held online on 8 June 2021.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Mehdiyev described the activities carried out by Azerbaijan during his tenure as Vice-Chair and expressed his gratitude to the region’s Members for their cooperation.
In his address, Dr. Mikuriya updated the participants on recent WCO initiatives and conveyed his appreciation for Members' active involvement in the Organization’s programmes.
The Meeting participants listened to a number of presentations on topics to be taken up at the forthcoming Council Session as well as on the activities of the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) and Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs). The participants also supported Uzbekistan Customs' proposal to establish a Regional Customs Laboratory.
Mr. Eser ÇENGEL, Director of the Regional Office for Capacity Building for the World Customs Organization Europe Region (ROCB Europe) delivered a presentation on the annual progress for 2020/2021 on the basis of the written report that was submitted to the Region beforehand. He said that the Office is functioning on a robust strategic and practical framework and noted that the ROCB Europe continued to financially support capacity building delivery in the Region by organizing, co-organizing or co-hosting events. In addition, the Office was also organizing informative and experience sharing events for the Region. It is also reiterated that the host administration, the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, supports the ROCB Europe to a great extent, by bearing the running costs primarily in operational and administrative aspects.
Speaking of initiatives carried out by ROCB Europe, Mr. ÇENGEL briefed about the Coronavirus Bulletin which stands as an all-in-one gateway for latest updates and news, live maps as well as informative documents on the Covid-19 disease. The Office also developed and designed ROCB Europe Analytics, a database which includes substantial information about customs, trade and economy together with indices encompassing all the Members in the WCO Europe Region. Mr. ÇENGEL also stated that newly launched E-Training Module included WCO materials in a variety of topics both in English and Russian languages as well as visual trainings from the ROCB Europe or its partners. The Office started to publish e-Newsletters and review articles.