IOM, World Customs Organization to Boost Cooperation Towards Effective, Efficient and Responsible Border Management

Integrated Border Management, International and Regional Cooperation

Geneva/Brussels – On 8 May 2018, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the World Customs Organization (WCO), an intergovernmental organization based in Brussels, Belgium, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost cooperation on issues of mutual interest, in particular, those related to effective, efficient and responsible border management.

This MoU offers the necessary framework for intensified cooperation between the two organizations. It opens increased joint programming opportunities notably in the field of coordinated/integrated border management, as well as in the field of border management and development and trade.

The MoU brings together two agencies with different but complementary mandates: While IOM focuses in its work on the well-being of migrants and the management of border crossings by persons, WCO’s work is concerned with the management of the crossing of borders by goods and passengers.   

The Memorandum was signed by William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General and Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General.

“We see in our member states around the world great interest in the cooperation topics covered in the MoU, especially in Africa, where the relationship between border management and development and trade has become a programming focus for many states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Union (AU). IOM is already active in this field, for instance by supporting African states to introduce One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs),” said Ambassador Swing.

The intensified cooperation between IOM and WCO strengthens the support the two organizations can give to Member States to further improve and modernize their border management, facilitate regular border crossings and exchange of goods and services across borders, support development, and better protect migrants.     

At the signing, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya stressed that “WCO encourages Customs administrations to adopt a coordinated approach with the various border agencies for greater efficiency over managing trade and travel flows, while maintaining a balance with compliance requirements. Coordinated border management is high on the Customs agenda and WCO has developed in this regard tools and instruments to support its implementation by Members, while involving national and international stakeholders.”

The agreement will enhance the collaboration between IOM and WCO through coordinated activities and elimination of unnecessary duplication, increased consultations, exchanges of information and documents for an effective cooperation and liaison between both Organizations’ Secretariats or Regional Offices and Country missions.

The MoU encourages both organizations, within their respective complementary mandates, to support their Member States to strengthen international,  and intra-state cooperation between their national border agencies, and exchange of information in thematic areas such as: i) border management; ii) sharing of best practices in coordinated border management policies, regulatory frameworks and administrative and institutional structures; iii) capacity building efforts; iv) responsible data collection and information exchange with a focus on risk analysis and risk management; and v) joint research. 


About the WCO

The WCO, established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC), is an independent intergovernmental body with a mission to enhance the effectiveness of Customs administrations. It represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98 per cent of world trade.

About IOM

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. With 169 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants. IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.


For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 788 84 33 96, Email: or Ludovic Thanay, WCO, Tel: +32 22 09 94 20, Email: