The COVID-19 Project provides practical training on disaster preparedness to Angola Revenue Administration

07 December 2022

On 28 and 29 November the WCO COVID-19 Project, financially supported by the Government of Japan, organized a two-day workshop to assist the Angola Revenue Administration in reinforcing its ability to respond to natural disasters, infectious diseases and other unpredictable scenarios, focusing on Customs operational readiness, cooperation with stakeholders and practical training in the form of a simulation exercise (SimEx).

The “WCO workshop to assist Angola Revenue Administration in improving its preparedness to face natural disasters and other disruptive events: conducting of a SIMEX” was held in Luanda (Angola) and brought together over 35 participants, including Customs representatives, other government agencies and international actors involved in humanitarian operations. The audience composition and the adoption of an inclusive, bottom-up approach to run the sessions enabled constructive conversations and that helped better identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

During the first day of the workshop, WCO experts and attendees reviewed WCO and international instruments and tools relevant to disaster relief, such as Chapter 5, Specific Annex J of the Revised Kyoto Convention, Annex B9 of the Istanbul Convention, the 2011 WCO Council Resolution and the WCO Guidelines on disaster management and supply chain continuity. They also analyzed national Customs procedures for the facilitation of relief consignments, highlighting best practices for releasing emergency goods and equipment and detailing future steps to increase Customs’ disaster readiness. 

The second day focused on testing the robustness of existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and validating preparedness and response plans in the form of a simulation exercise. To this end, a fictional scenario comprising a series of disruptive events was designed by the COVID-19 Project, training participants on how to ensure adequate disaster management and coordination in real-life situations. The newly developed “WCO course on simulation exercises in enhancing Customs’ operational readiness to respond to disruptive events” was also presented, providing Customs staff with an online tool to further develop their skills on the matter.

Since the end of 2021, the WCO COVID-19 Project has been supporting the Angola Revenue Administration in the framework of its capacity-building activities and providing ongoing guidance for the revision and drafting of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be implemented in case of disruptive situations. Such assistance included a national online workshop in February 2022 and a series of follow-up meetings to draft a comprehensive Guide addressed to humanitarian stakeholders containing clearance procedures for emergency shipments.  

This workshop was an opportunity to pursue, in person, the work carried out over the past twelve months, delving into logistics mechanisms, building synergies among participants and making the most of the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters.