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.
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 accreditation.
Based on cooperative effort between WCO and its members and the academic community, simultaneous work continues on Customs research development.
Since the inception of the PICARD Programme, eleven annual 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.