about icon


How ASYCUDA is Implemented

Home iconPre-Installation Phase

ASYCUDA is installed at the request of developing-country governments with the assistance of UNCTAD experts when the following have been completed or are in place:

  • Field studies by UNCTAD experts to ensure that the environment (e.g. political situation, staff incentives) lends itself to implementing ASYCUDA.
  • An agreement with the government institutions concerned regarding the installation of the system and the preparation of a technical cooperation project document
  • Funding of the technical assistance ensured* and the corresponding document signed.
* Funds needed to supplement the national contribution can be negotiated through UNCTAD.
a discussion with laptops and notes

Home iconImplementation Phase

Implementation of the system is generally carried out in two phases:

  • A trade facilitation phase during which Customs procedures, documents and codes are harmonized and the software adapted to the country’s needs
  • An implementation phase during which:
    1. equipment is installed.
    2. definitive adjustments are made concerning the organization of work, technical configuration and information-interchange mechanisms
    3. UNCTAD holds training sessions for national Customs officials and the local trade community
    4. test sessions are held to ensure the smooth running of the system
    5. the final automated system is introduced.

Home iconPost-Installation Assistance

Once the system has been installed, UNCTAD continues to assist in software maintenance and provides system updates.

Project Organization, Project Plans, and System Changes

Home iconProject Management


To ensure that the project reaches its objectives in an efficient manner, a clear and dynamic project Organisation is required. It follows the logical management framework ascribed to each ASYCUDA project, the principles of which are:

  • clear leadership.
  • well-defined delegated authority.
  • clearly-assigned responsibilities.
  • transparency for all entities involved.
  • consistent planning and monitoring.
  • firm control.

Overall project management will be under the direct control of Customs department at all times. The project will be directed by a Steering Group chaired by the Customs department. The Customs department will appoint a National Project Director, who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the project. The Director will be advised and assisted by the experts provided by UNCTAD.

Activities leading to the realization of stages, milestones and the project objective will be carried out by the following working groups: the Technical team, the Application Development team and the End-User team.

The following entities will perform the different tasks and the respective responsibilities will be confirmed at the outset of the operation.

Home iconOrganisational Entities

The Steering Group

The Steering Group will normally comprise the Director General of the Customs department, the National Project Director, donor representative(s), and UNCTAD. Representatives of other government departments with an interest in specific components of the project, for example, the ministries of Finance and Industry and Trade and the Central Statistical Office may be co-opted as necessary.

The Group’s mandate is to:

  • provide overall leadership and project direction.
  • make strategic business decisions.
  • provide financial authority.
  • monitor project progress at regular intervals.
  • ensure co-ordination of all involved parties.

The National Project Director

The post of National Project Director is a full-time responsibility. The Director is selected from the Customs department and appointed by the Director General. He or she will be responsible for operational decisions, institutional liaison and strategic planning. He/she will assume day-to-day responsibility for managing the project throughout all its stages. It will be essential to define his/her delegated powers and authority for decision-making on operational issues in relation to those of the Steering Group.

The Project Support Unit (PSU)

The Project Support Unit (PSU) will provide day-to-day support to the National Project Director. Its responsibilities include:

  • liaison at all levels between the project team, end-users in the Customs department, other ministries, the private sector, etc.
  • administrative functions in relation to the Customs department resources, budgets, reports, etc.

To simplify the management organization it is recommended that the PSU also should incorporate the essential Quality Assurance function for the project, calling on UNCTAD and the Customs department’s business and technical inputs as required. This function ensures the technical integrity of the end product and that system outputs meet the needs/requirements in terms of both functionality and time scales for the User.


UNCTAD is represented in the Steering Committee, providing inputs in accordance with the relevant section of the project document to the National Project Director, and is responsible for its own “internal” or “external” deliveries.

UNCTAD’s overall planning, coordination and monitoring services aim at continuously assessing business and technical integrity, ensuring that the general conditions for project viability and longer -term profitability are established and maintained.

The Technical Team

The Technical Team will design and implement the technical parts of the system. They will provide overall technical support for the project and detailed hardware installation plans for all sites, prepare and provide all technical documentation and special training of operator personnel. The team will comprise personnel from UNCTAD and the Customs department, assisted as and when required by local partners.

The Application Development Team

The Application Development Team will be in charge of the development of any Customs department application based upon the core ASYCUDAWorld package. They will carry out all tasks related to additional application software development required by the Customs department. They will also ensure the interface between the Customs and statistical systems and produce the management information outputs required by the Customs department. The team will comprise personnel from UNCTAD and the Customs department.

The End-User Team

The End-User Team will include staff from the Customs department and an UNCTAD Customs Adviser. Its initial task will be to participate in the re-engineering of Customs procedures. The team will then be responsible for preparing user manuals and training material. The team will design the user training programme and train Customs department core instructors. Further tasks will include preparing test data and conducting system tests.

Home iconSystems Development, Changes and Enhancements

As a result of changes in international obligations or operational difficulties experienced, requests for system enhancements or changes may be generated. These may include proposed modifications to the existing system, the definition of system interfaces or the integration of alternative software solutions for particular applications.

In close coordination with the Customs department, UNCTAD will implement – either during the pilot project, or prior to the system roll-out phase – all such changes approved by the Steering Committee.

Home iconProject Workplans and Tools

A detailed work plan will be developed at the outset of the project using Microsoft Project.* This tool will enable the National Project Team to efficiently schedule tasks, manage resources and closely monitor project performance. It will generate reports enabling the project team to analyse the consequences of delayed inputs. It therefore also serves as an early warning system minimizing project overruns.

Home iconTransfer of Skills to The Customs Department in Using Project Management Tools

From the outset of the project planning stage the active participation of Customs department staff is vital in order to set realistic and attainable goals. Customs department staff will become familiar with Microsoft Project through their daily use of the package, in cooperation with the UNCTAD experts. UNCTAD experts, together with project partners, will transfer the necessary skills and know-how as part of the day-to-day working relationship.
* or similar package.