The WCO C-RED project follows up on the finalization of the Standard Operating Procedures for relief consignments in Liberia and Sierra Leone

22 agosto 2018

In the week of 13 August 2018, a team of WCO experts and a representative of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) delivered two 2-days workshops under the Dutch-funded Customs for Relief of Epidemic Diseases (C-RED) Project. The workshops took place in Monrovia, Liberia and Freetown, Sierra Leone and were aimed at providing support to the two beneficiary countries for finalizing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for receiving international emergency relief consignments and equipment imported for humanitarian purposes drafted under the C-RED Project.

The workshop in Monrovia benefited from the participation of experts from a wide range of government authorities, including the Liberia Revenue Authority, the National Disaster Management Agency and the Ministry of Health. The humanitarian community was represented by the World Health Organization, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) and several international humanitarian non-governmental organizations.

The workshop participants finalized the texts in all sections of the SOPs and, pending some final adjustments, the text of the SOPs is to be presented for validation by all relevant government agencies in September 2018.

In Freetown, the mission team met with representatives of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), the Ministry of Finance, the Office of National Security, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, the International Red Cross and Sierra Leone Red Cross, to name but a few.

The workshop participants discussed different sections of the SOPs and amended and supplemented the content that was initially drafted during the first C-RED mission to Sierra Leone held in late 2017. The finalization of the SOPs now rests with the Sierra Leone government, with NRA taking the lead on the process.

The mission team welcomed the progress made by Sierra Leone on some of the recommendations formulated during the C-RED scoping mission to Freetown in November 2017, especially the simplified procedure for duty waiver applications introduced after the establishment in April 2018 of the new government of Sierra Leone.

In the respective closing remarks, both beneficiary countries appreciated the support provided by the WCO and UN-OCHA under the C-RED project, expressed satisfaction with the project greatly enhancing the cooperation between the various government agencies on one hand and between the government and the humanitarian community on the other hand, and reiterated their commitment for a swift conclusion of the SOPs drafting process.