The CITES E-Permitting Toolkit highlighted during the 2013 WCO Knowledge Academy for Customs & Trade

The World Customs Organization (WCO) Knowledge Academy for Customs, which was held at the WCO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium from 2 to 11 July 2013, brought together experts in Customs and international trade issues to discuss and share solutions to an increasingly complex international and cross-border trading system. Participants in this two week intensive initiative included representatives from the private sector, Customs officials, border agency officials, international organization representatives and academia.

The Academy aims to increase the technical knowledge and skills of Customs officials, private sector representatives and other stakeholders with an interest in improving the processes regulating cross-boundary trade.

An important module in the Academy was the provision of a course focusing on the use of the WCO Data Model, the de-facto international standard for meeting the procedural and legal needs of cross-border regulatory agencies and the CITES e-permitting toolkit.

The course built on the successful collaboration achieved by the CITES Secretariat and the WCO who worked together to include standards related to the development of CITES electronic permitting systems in the WCO Data Model. It made use of the updated CITES E-Permitting Toolkit as an example of how the WCO Data Model can support a global convention regulating international trade in wildlife.  Participants to the course where introduced to the CITES regulatory system which is based on permits and certificates, and to how the CITES E-Permitting Toolkit provides specifications for the electronic exchange of CITES e-permitting data between interested Parties.

In his comments about the course, CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon noted that “the opportunity for the Customs officials, the private sector and other stakeholders to better understand the regulatory framework provided by CITES is much needed and appreciated. It will also assist Parties to CITES in implementing cutting-edge electronic trade procedures to ensure that international trade in CITES-listed species remains legal, sustainable and traceable.”

More information on the World Customs Organization (WCO) Knowledge Academy for Customs is available on the WCO website at:

Information on CITES e-permitting systems and the CITES E-Permitting Toolkit is available at: