International Customs Day (ICD), which is officially marked on 26 January every year, was celebrated by the WCO Secretariat on 24 January 2020 at the Organization’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
The WCO’s official theme for 2020, namely “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet,” was officially announced by the Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. The theme will guide Customs and its partners throughout the year to put sustainability at the centre of their future improvements in practices and processes.
Guests from the Customs community were welcomed by Secretary General Mikuriya, who focused his speech on the way Customs can contribute to a sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental considerations are fully integrated, as well as how we can all, as individuals, change habits and practices for the betterment of society and the planet. He highlighted the initiative taken by the Secretariat to eliminate the use of plastic bottles during meetings by putting at the disposal of delegates 100% recyclable and reusable water bottles that can be filled with filtered tap water. He also thanked Luxembourg Customs for generously co-hosting the celebration of ICD at the WCO Secretariat.
The Director General of Luxembourg Customs, Mr. Alain Bellot, thanked the WCO Secretariat for the opportunity to participate in the event with the Customs family and highlighted the different responsibilities entrusted to Customs administrations with regards to environment protection and social cohesion. He concluded that ICD was also an opportunity to thank the dedicated men and women who show their commitment and dedication on a day-to-day basis.
After the official opening of the event, guests witnessed, at first-hand, a sniffer dog from Luxembourg’s Canine Unit in action, visited the mobile scanning van and road inspection vehicles brought to the event by Luxembourg Customs, and were entertained by Luxembourg’s 30-person Customs orchestra.
Secretary General Mikuriya also participated, earlier in the day, in the celebration of ICD by Belgium Customs at the Brussels City Hall. The celebrations were presided over by the Belgium General Administrator of Customs and Excise, Mr. Kristian Vanderwaeren, who gave Certificates of Merit to deserving Customs officers as well as Customs’ partners. Dr. Mikuriya was invited to address the guests and share some insights on the theme of the year. The ceremony was followed by a parade led by the official band of Belgium’s Ministry of Finance, concluding with the unveiling of the Belgian Customs uniform worn by the iconic Manneken-Pis statue.