The global Customs community reaffirms its commitment to facilitate the cross-border movement of COVID-19 vaccines

11 December 2020

At its 137th Session, the Customs Co-operation Council unanimously adopted a Resolution on the Role of Customs in Facilitating the Cross-Border Movement of Situationally Critical Medicines and Vaccines. The Resolution marks an important milestone in the efforts of the global Customs community to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and societies worldwide. It prescribes specific measures to be implemented by WCO Members and the Secretariat in view of supporting the COVID-19 vaccine global distribution effort, which is expected to be the world’s largest and fastest vaccine distribution operation ever.

The measures to be implemented by Member Customs administrations span from actions aimed at facilitating the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines, and the containers and devices that will be used for their transportation to measures that will prevent the cross-border movement of dangerous, sub-standard or counterfeit medicines and vaccines and deter criminal organizations from exploiting the situation.

 “The global Customs community, once again, proved its agility and demonstrated immediate readiness to play its role as a vital link in the supply chain for vaccine distribution,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. He further added that “The WCO Secretariat will devote all necessary efforts and resources to support Members by providing guidance for the application of simplified and harmonized border procedures, sharing relevant information and experience, delivering capacity building support, conducting tailor-made operational activities, and enhancing cooperation with the private sector and partner international organizations.”

In line with the concept of Coordinated Border Management, Member Customs administrations are called upon to cooperate and coordinate with relevant government agencies and supply chain stakeholders. By the same token, the WCO Secretariat is urged to strengthen its cooperation with the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and other relevant intergovernmental organizations and supply chain stakeholders to ensure that timely and adequate information and guidance is made available to WCO Members.