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WCO and OCHA sign an MOU to facilitate the Customs treatment of relief consignments in the event of international disasters

28 septiembre 2010

WCO and OCHA sign an MOU to facilitate the Customs treatment of relief consignments in the event of international disasters

Brussels, 27 September 2010

Report

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya, and Rashid Khalikov, Director of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both organizations at WCO Headquarters on 27 September 2010.

The MOU enhances cooperation between the two organizations on issues of mutual interest and in particular those relating to promoting Customs facilitation measures in the case of emergency and the handling of humanitarian relief consignments.

To that end, the WCO has already developed a range of instruments to expedite the forwarding of relief consignments in the event of disasters, such as Specific Annex J.5 to the Revised Kyoto Convention or the Recommendation of 8 June 1970 to expedite the forwarding of relief consignments in the event of disasters. In addition, OCHA and the WCO have developed a Model Agreement between the United Nations organization and a State/Government in relation to measures designed to expedite the import, export and transit of relief consignments and possessions of relief personnel in the event of disasters and emergencies (Model Customs Facilitation Agreement).

In this way, the WCO and OCHA hope to assist their Members in instituting optimal procedures for addressing relief consignments in cases of disaster or crisis. Through the rapid implementation of the appropriate measures, Members can consequently have more expeditious access to their emergency relief capacities, including food reserves, emergency stockpiles and personnel, as well as logistics support, in order to provide assistance to survivors as quickly as possible.

By way of reminder, in June 2010 the WCO Council decided to establish a new Ad Hoc Working Group to explore how to enable Customs to react more effectively, efficiently, speedily and appropriately in cases of natural disasters using Members’ experience in dealing with such disasters. This Ad Hoc Group is required to present a strategy in June 2011 that should include a set of very practical recommendations. Against this backdrop, OCHA has already undertaken to lend its support to the Group’s work.

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