Vice Chair Current Affairs - 2019
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Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi was elected as Vice-Chair of United Nations (UN) Panel of Auditors at its annual meeting held in New York. In this meeting CAG of UK was also appointed as Chair of Panel for another term (2019). The meeting discussed various issues concerning audit of United Nations and the agencies under the United Nations System. The next meeting will be held in in Bonn, Germany in November-December 2019.
United Nations Panel of Auditors
It was established by UN General Assembly Resolution 1438 (XIV) in 1959. Its main objectives are to further co-ordination of audits for which its members are responsible and to exchange information on audit methods and findings.
It is made up of members of United Nations Board of Auditors and external auditors of Specialized Agencies of UN and of International Atomic Energy Agency. Currently, it is chaired by CAG of UK and consists of 11 countries — India, Germany, Chile, Canada, France, Italy, Philippines, Ghana, Indonesia, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
It may submit to executive heads of organisations audited any observations or recommendations in relation to accounts and financial procedures of organisation concerned. The executive heads of articipating organisations may also, through their auditors submit requests to it for its opinion or recommendation on any matter within its competence.
India became Vice-Chair or regional head of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for two years from July 2018 to June 2020. By becoming Vice Chair, India will be able to take up leadership role at the WCO.
To mark assumption of Vice Chair, an event will be organised in New Delhi by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The event was attended by Customs delegations of 33 countries of Asia-Pacific Region, Customs officers from different Ports in India, Partner Government Agencies and representatives from the trade among others.
World Customs Organisation (WCO)
WCO is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council (CCC). It is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and is considered as voice of international Customs community.
WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It plays leading role in discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures.
Objectives: It aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations and assist them to contribute successfully to national development goals, particularly revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.
Organistaional Structure: WCO’s governing body – the Council relies on competence and skills of WCO Secretariat and a range of technical and advisory committees to accomplish its mission. The Secretariat comprises over 100 international officials, technical experts and support staff of some nationalities. WCO has divided its membership into six regions whereby each region is represented by elected vice-chairperson to WCO Council.
Functions: It offers range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services to its members. It also actively supports its members in their endeavours to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.
It also plays vital role in stimulating growth of legitimate international trade and combats fraudulent activities. It also promotes emergence of honest, transparent and predictable Customs environment, thus directly contributing to economic and social well-being of its members.