WCO and UN-OCHA Partner to support Mali Strengthen Capacity to enhance Customs facilitation of relief consignments

09 October 2017

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) conducted the first national support mission to Mali under the C-RED Project. The mission was held in Bamako on 18-21 September 2017.

The overall goal of the C-RED project, which is funded by the Government of the Netherlands, is to assist Customs administrations in West Africa to be better prepared to contain the effects of regional epidemics and natural disasters.

The objective of the mission was threefold:

  • to assess the needs in terms of required national support and capacity building in the area of Customs clearance of relief goods,
  • to strengthen national coordination between all stakeholders that play a role in clearance of relief goods,
  • to draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for receiving international emergency relief consignments and equipment imported for humanitarian purposes.

During the mission, the WCO and UN-OCHA experts moderated a 4-day programme that was opened by the Deputy Director General of the Customs Authority of Mali. The workshop benefitted from the active participation of a broad range of Customs officials, representatives of a number of government bodies (among those the Ministry of Health, the Police, and the Civil Protection) - as well as a representative of OCHA-Mali and humanitarian actors such as the CICR.

In highly interactive sessions, the WCO and OCHA presented the C-RED Project, Customs challenges and the international tools to be used in the fight against regional epidemics or natural disasters

The whole group also visited the Airport President Modibo Keïta where the Airport services gave an insight on how consignments are received and cleared at the airport premises. In the afternoon, Mali officials presented the current legal framework and existing procedures related to clearance of relief goods.

After this visit, the participants worked in break-out groups on a template, provided and thoroughly explained by the mission team, on the various sections of the SOPs. Upon completion of the sections assigned to the groups, the texts were compiled to form a consolidated draft. It is now up to Mali Customs Services to coordinate the finalization and the adoption of the SOPs.

During the workshop a list of recommendations and actions was set up to be followed for enhancing and facilitating the implementation of the SOPs. Deadlines have been assigned to each of recommended actions.

The mission was seen as a valuable opportunity for enhancing the cooperation between the government agencies and the humanitarian actors who attended the meetings. Following this success, it was agreed that a second mission with the same stakeholders and new identified ones would be hosted in Mali, next year at the latest.

More information about the C-RED project