Program Assistant at World Customs Organization


Program Assistant


The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an independent intergovernmental body, established in 1952 as the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC), whose mission is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of customs services throughout the world. The WCO represents 184 Customs administrations which collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. As the global center of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization competent in Customs matters.

As a forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between national Customs delegates, the WCO offers its Members a range of conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services provided directly by the Secretariat or with its participation. The Secretariat also actively supports its Members in their efforts to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.


Within the Capacity Building Directorate, the SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Program (hereafter “GTFP” or the “Programme”) is a comprehensive 5-year capacity building program (2018-2023) which assists beneficiary Customs Administrations (CAs) and, where appropriate, other tax administrations and stakeholders (including the private sector) involved in the clearance of commercial goods at the border.

A full-time program management team has been set up at the WCO Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium.


SECO is the business promotion division of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. One of the main objectives of SECO is to create favorable framework conditions for business. Therefore, SECO helps partner countries, which are middle-income countries, to effectively implement various international agreements and facilitate trade. Well-functioning institutions, such as ACs, are essential to achieving this goal.

SECO engaged the WCO to plan and implement a Trade Facilitation Program (GTFP) for some of its priority partner countries.

The beneficiary countries of this program are Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Serbia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The program allows full-fledged interventions for the main beneficiary countries but also ad hoc assistance for other SECO partner countries, including Bangladesh, the Central America region, Guatemala, Jordan, Moldova and Mongolia.


The overall objective of the GTFP is to help foster and facilitate international trade by enhancing the compliance of selected SECO developing country partners, particularly CAs, with international standards and best practices for importing, export and transit of commercial goods.

The objective of the intervention is to strengthen the organizational and technical capacities of beneficiary CAs to successfully lead, plan and implement sustainable and transparent Customs reforms, with the participation of relevant stakeholders, and apply standards and best practices. international standards, in particular those of the WCO and the WTO concerning trade facilitation.

The program pursues three results, thus responding to the main challenges identified in the field of trade facilitation:

Result 1: Organizational development – Sustainable management of customs reforms and modernization by beneficiary CAs through organizational development capacity building. The institutional strengthening of CAs through the development of leadership and management, the improvement of strategic planning of reforms, the introduction of human resources management based on competences and the improvement of relations with stakeholders, in especially those with the private sector.

Result 2: Trade facilitation – Easier and better trade through modern and efficient customs procedures in line with international standards and best practices. Improve compliance capacity through specialized capacity building and training of CAs and relevant stakeholders on international standards and best practices related to trade facilitation.

Potential Result 3: Performance Measurement – A comprehensive performance measurement tool for CAs is developed. Provide Customs Directorates with a tool to measure Customs performance in a more comprehensive and transparent manner.

Therefore, the program contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2030 8 – Sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.


Under the supervision of the GTFP Program Manager, the Program Assistant will focus on the following key activities:

  1. Program implementation:
  • Conduct background research to inform project planning; and
  • Contribute to the drafting of project activity plans, reports and monitoring of implementation.
  1. Communication :
  • Assist in the implementation of the program’s communication and visibility plan;
  • Writing articles on the activities and achievements of the Program to be published on the WCO website or through newsletters;
  • Ensure that program communications are properly documented and tracked and comply with WCO and SECO visibility rules;
  • Ensure the translation of relevant documents by the WCO translation services; and
  • Maintain a network of contacts in beneficiary administrations to support the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities.
  1. Purchasing, contracts and logistics:
  • Draft invitation letters and logistical notes for experts and participants in program activities;
  • Book travel tickets and accommodation for experts and participants in program activities, arrange payment of their per diems and assist with visa and travel insurance; and
  • Book conference rooms, interpreters and other service providers in accordance with established WCO procurement policies and relevant program contract and budget provisions.
  1. Assistance to Experts:
  • Provide pre-departure briefings to technical experts, addressing issues of corporate culture/etiquette, entry/exit requirements, safety and security and governance;
  • Ensure that experts have access to WCO e-learning materials and are encouraged to use them;
  • Ensure that all necessary documents and reports are collected from experts at the end of each activity; and
  • In collaboration with the program manager, ensure that experts are properly debriefed.
  1. Financial direction:
  • Ensure program expenditures are properly recorded and records maintained.
  • Any other related task that may be assigned by the supervisor.


  • A bachelor’s degree or higher.


  • At least three (3) years of demonstrated experience supporting multi-stakeholder projects, preferably in an international setting;
  • Experience in maintaining a network of contacts, particularly in a customs or government context;
  • Experience in organizing events/workshops; and
  • Experience in an international/intercultural context.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with:
  • Experience in international capacity building; and or
  • Exposure to GTFP beneficiary countries.


  • Fluent English;
  • Proficiency in writing and speaking in Spanish; and
  • Knowledge of other languages ​​of GTFP beneficiary countries would be a strong asset.


  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment with a wide variety of stakeholders;
  • Ability to think critically and solve problems;
  • Strong communication, writing and presentation skills;
  • Proficiency in the use of office software (MS Office and editing software);
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and under minimal supervision; and
  • Knowledge of the customs environment would be considered an advantage.


  • Staff member on short-term contract of one (1) year, with possibility of extension;
  • Trial period: three (3) months;
  • Full-time employment (37 hours and 40 minutes per week) at WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium;
  • 30 days of paid annual leave;
  • Occasional travel required in beneficiary countries;
  • Salary according to experience and up to 3,500 EUR/month all inclusive (remuneration exempt from income tax in Belgium); and
  • Compulsory OMD health insurance deducted from salary (approximately 67 EUR/month).

This position is subject to the Short Term Contractors Handbook. The successful candidate does not acquire the right to subsequently hold a permanent position within the WCO. The successful candidate will not be affiliated to any pension fund or pension scheme taken out by the WCO.


It is the candidate’s responsibility to demonstrate how they meet each of the essential qualifications and requirements. Candidates are encouraged to detail their concrete achievements in their CV and/or cover letter as well as to include references.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an assessment which may include a written test and/or an interview. All shortlisted candidates may be asked to provide copies of their original degree, certificates and proof of relevant experience. Shortlisted candidates may also be subject to reference checks to confirm the information provided in the application.

Interested applicants should submit their applications for consideration no later than Friday, June 10, 2022including a CV and cover letter in English by e-mail to: [email protected]

Or by mail to:

world customs organization

Capacity Building Directorate

Market Street, 30

B-1210 Brussels


Interested candidates can submit a request for additional information by e-mail, providing their full name and contact details.

The assessment of candidates will be made on the basis of the information provided in the application according to the criteria of the position and the applicable rules of the WCO.


The WCO values ​​commitment to the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability as well as diversity among its staff members. Applications from qualified women and men will be treated on an equal footing and due consideration will be given to the importance of recruiting nationals of WCO Members on as wide a geographical basis as possible. Please note that the WCO Headquarters is a non-smoking environment.

Don’t forget to mention that you found this job offer on the EURACTIV website!

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