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WCO PICARD Programme

The WCO PICARD (Partnership in Customs Academic Research and Development) Programme was launched in 2006 to provide a framework for cooperation between Customs and the academic world.


The PICARD Programme aims to:

  • increase the professional knowledge and standing of Customs executives and practitioners;
  • encourage academic institutions and Customs administrations to increase their cooperation in the field of Customs education and research in order to raise the academic standing of the Customs profession;
  • support initiatives related to this collaboration by promoting the development of Customs-specific educational products and research activities, including the identification of research funding opportunities; and
  • initiate new approaches to Customs whole-of-career development strategies.

Professional Standards and WCO Recognition of University Customs Curriculum

The WCO in partnership with the INCU has developed a set of Professional Standards necessary for operational and strategic Customs managers to meet the requirements of the new international trading and strategic environment. 


For the first time there is a clearly defined pathway to education in Customs matters. Customs administrations and related bodies, educational institutions and students of Customs matters now have international standards as criteria for curricula, recruitment and career development. The WCO Professional Standards can and are being used by the academic world to develop educational programmes which provide professional qualifications for Customs staff, and others, to Bachelors and Masters levels.


In addition, the WCO has established a process of assessing university curricula against the Professional Standards. Universities that are able to demonstrate that their curriculum substantially addresses these Standards may apply for WCO recognition.


Based on cooperative effort between WCO and its members and the academic community, simultaneous work continues on Customs research development.

PICARD Conferences

Since the inception of the PICARD Programme, seven PICARD Conferences have been successfully held, where participants were provided with an opportunity to interact with their government, commercial and academic counterparts from around the world. PICARD Conference is a joint initiative of the WCO and INCU. This annual event has been previously held in Brussels in 2006 and 2007, Shanghai in 2008, Costa Rica in 2009, Abu Dhabi in 2010, Geneva in 2011, Marrakesh in 2012, St Petersburg in 2013, Puebla in 2014 and Baku in 2015. 


To access presentations and reports from past PICARD conferences please click here.


PICARD Advisory Group
Especially for the benefit of Members and Affiliates who recently joined the INCU, the following is a brief overview of the WCO’s PICARD Advisory Group including its main functions and current composition.

The PICARD Advisory Group (PAG) is a forum established by the WCO to assist with management and development of the PICARD Program. The role and functions of the PAG have not been officially defined yet, but they are outlined in the diagram below. As its name suggests, the PAG only has the advising capacity. It does not have any powers or authority to make final decisions, as these are retained by the WCO.


The PAG currently comprises:
• Prof. Aivars Krastins, Riga Technical University, Latvia
• Prof. Hans-Michael Wolffgang, University of Muesnter, Germany
• Prof. David Widdowson, Centre for Customs and Excise Studies, University of Canberra, Australia

• Dr. Juha Hintsa, Cross-Border Research Association, Lausanne, Switzerland
• Prof. Jhon Fonseca, University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica.
• Representatives of the WCO.

The WCO Capacity Building Directorate is in the process of developing the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the PICARD Advisory Group


International Network of Customs Universities Inc.

Secretariat Location:
Level 1, 10-12 Brisbane Avenue
Barton ACT 2601, Australia

Postal Address:
Locked Bag 119
Kingston ACT 2604, Australia

Phone: +61 2 6272 6300

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