The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has never intended to open source ASYCUDA (as the WCO recently did in June 2017 with their Cargo Targeting System). It seems clear that Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) should not be in the business of building and selling rudimentary software solutions, and donors should not be funding the development or deployment especially when there is an appearance of a kickback scheme for a select few...
Today we launch the next chapter in our series on ASYCUDA. We hope you enjoy. If you missed parts 1 and 2, they can be accessed here:
In the last chapter, we discussed the findings of the UN Audits on ASYCUDA and UNCTAD in 2008 and 2012. In this chapter, we discuss the plans UNCTAD had for ASYCUDA and why they never actually emerged.
As requested by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in 2008, UNCTAD/ASYCUDA was asked to develop a strategy in regards to the development and roll-out of the next generation of ASYCUDA World branded as “ASYCUDA Millennium”...
We’ve prepared a series of upcoming posts over the next 1-2 weeks regarding ASYCUDA that might draw some interest and discussion. A few months ago, I had posted a blog on ASYCUDA called: “The ASYCUDA Myth Part 1: Is UNCTAD fostering a No-Bid Sole Source Contract for ASYCUDA World?” This post can be accessed here and discussed the various tactics employed by UNCTAD to secure a sole source deployment of ASYCUDA under the guise of a misleading feasibility study.
The next in the series (posted here today) is called, “The ASYCUDA Myth Part 2: United Nations Audit Reveals Collusion, and Conflicts of Interest”, and is based on the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight services (OIOS) audits in 2008 and 2012. Surprisingly, many in our community are still unaware of these reports and the internal conflicts they exposed. Personally, I only discovered them in the last year. If you are in anyway involved in trade facilitation, customs modernization, and/or capacity building in the developing world, it is very important to understand the specifics of ASYCUDA development to date and where this system is likely headed.
This blog will be followed by 2 more blogs in the next 2 weeks called,
“The ASYCUDA Myth Part 3: Where is ASYCUDA Millennium?”
“The ASYCUDA Myth Part 4: Time to Open Source.”
I hope these blogs are enjoyed and prompt much discussion to make the positive change that is desperately needed.
This ESW is possibly the only system designed to work alongside and in collaboration with ASYCUDA World. This is the best ESW globally because of the way it was designed to provide interoperability and coordination between OGAs and Customs. Barbados is a small country with smaller trade volumes then we might see in larger economies, making it the perfect testing ground for those larger countries to consider.
I'll be honest. I'm intrigued but I'm still not entirely clear on how this can be used to enhance supply chain visibility for Customs and border processing. It's also not entirely clear yet how the trading community wants to implement this and how a Customs and Other Government Agencies will want to influence (if they should at all?).
I ran into the following article today and could not help but see this news item paint a very clear picture of how the UNCTAD/ASYCUDA folks seed and then secure their deployments of ASYCUDA World. This article is an excellent case study to demonstrate how an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) expands the footprint of their technology using secretariat and organizational leverage over a country member.
The WCO professes the CTS to be a complete, efficient, and effective solution. Based on this scorecard I’d say that’s a bit of an exaggeration and taken from the UNCTAD ASYCUDA Playbook discussed in Part 1 of the WCO CTS Myth.
They further describe it as user-friendly, simple, powerful, affordable, and sustainable. They say everything is required to implement and sustain an effective cargo manifest risk assessment solution. Like a technology vendor, they state they will provide the hardware, data assistance, training, support, maintenance. The WCO is suddenly discovering that software development can be difficult. As one example, they’ve only obtained 40% of the cargo data in some countries. That goes a long way from the full visibility needed at the border. (Maybe goods aren’t being smuggled in the other 60%?) ....
A good discussion followed Part 1 of The WCO CTS Myth. Access the PART 1 blog here. Part 2 will focus on the functions and integration methodology for the system. It sounds like the WCO thinks it is doing the right thing by building an entry level targeting system for it’s members who want one. There’s nothing overly nefarious here. The problem is, it puts the WCO in direct competition with the technology vendors....
The World Customs Organization (WCO) is blocking the technology providers from those countries who require and seek a robust risk management solution, by suggesting their Cargo Targeting System (CTS) as the only viable solution available. No market awareness or survey is provided. Sure -the WCO will point members to the TEN network or WCO IT Conference, but it’s clear to us that members are shown all roads lead to the CTS…. especially when they are told it makes them compliant with WCO SAFE....