CITES makes best use of knowledge and information management with the World Customs Organization (WCO)

Mr Marcos Silva (right) representing the CITES Secretariat at the 2011 World Customs and Trade Forum, Guangzhou, China

At the invitation of the World Customs Organization (WCO), the CITES Secretariat participated in the World Customs and Trade Forum, Guangzhou, China, 24-25 November 2011, to discuss the effective use of knowledge and information management in, inter alia, the development of global networks, CITES export and import documents, CITES  business processes and the inclusion of CITES e-permitting standards in the World Customs Organization Data Model, version 3. The Forum was hosted by the General Administration of China Customs.

The theme of the Forum was built around knowledge management and the implications of new paradigms in information sharing and access on customs policies and private sector practices. The Secretariat spoke on its experience in the use of knowledge management to develop standards to assist in establishing national CITES e-permitting systems that are harmonized and interoperable.  Much of the discussion centered on the use of e-learning tools to build capacity at the national level and to assist in the sustainability of communities of practice.

The partnership between the International University of Andalusia, Baeza, Spain, in the development of the CITES Virtual College, and its use in the establishment of networks among CITES Authorities was of particular interest.

In side meetings, the CITES Secretariat also spoke of future plans to better manage its information resources. Customs officials supported the idea of linking electronic trade documents to the CITES Checklist so as to reduce errors and more easily check the authenticity of permits and certificates, especially with regard to information related to nomenclature.

Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization, described the Forum as an opportunity to “meet potential partners and associates with a shared interest in trade facilitation, improving supply chain management, maximizing cooperation amongst border stakeholders and enhancing border security.” In this regard, CITES is an important partner and the interaction between Customs and CITES core business provides tangible expression of Coordinated Border Management which is a vital component of the WCO’s “Customs in the 21st Century” strategy.

In his comments regarding the outcomes of the Forum, Mr. John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General, said “the use of knowledge management to better harmonize CITES vast electronic resources will mean that Parties can more effectively meet their obligations under the Convention, and in a more cost efficient manner”.  “The WCO is an indispensable partner in turning such aspirations into a reality”, added Scanlon.

More information on the World Customs and Trade Forum is available here.

CITES will participate in the Eye on Earth Summit to be held from 12 to 15 December in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.