The Dominican Republic Customs establishes an Action plan for humanitarian aid clearance with the assistance of the WCO COVID-19 Project

03 May 2022

From 25 to 28 April 2022 the WCO COVID-19 Project, financially supported by the Government of Japan, held a four-day capacity-building workshop to support the Dominican Republic Customs in facilitating the clearance of international humanitarian aid in the event of natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks. The initiative, organized in cooperation with the Importation and Customs Clearance Together group (IMPACCT), was particularly helpful in paving the way for the implementation of an Action plan to efficiently respond to disruptive situations and to improve existing protocols and simplified procedures for the processing of relief consignments.

The workshop brought together more than 100 participants representing Customs, disaster management and border authorities, competent ministries, international organizations and  humanitarian partners. They discussed the challenges encountered in the clearance of relief consignments and analyzed and reviewed the legal framework and protocols in force in the light of the latest WCO and international tools and instruments.

During the opening ceremony, the Director-General of the Dominican Republic Customs, Mr. Eduardo Sanz Lovatón, thanked the WCO for the support provided with this activity and underlined the commitment of the Administration in fostering synergies with the stakeholders involved in the humanitarian supply chain. The United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Dominican Republic, Mr. Mauricio Ramirez, underlined the importance of aligning the national legislation to international conventions for effective relief assistance. On behalf of the WCO Secretariat, the Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, commended the country for the efforts carried out to improve the efficiency of emergency operations and encouraged the national Administration to reach out to the Secretariat for additional assistance.

High-level experts and WCO staff supported the meeting in identifying challenges and potential solutions to expedite the clearance of humanitarian aid. Customs will be able to rely on and make use of the most appropriate tools to streamline their procedures for humanitarian aid and stakeholders involved in relief operations will be able to provide border authorities with the correct shipping documents and deliver items that match the needs and legislative requirements of the Dominican Republic, thus avoiding supply disruptions and delays.

The work produced will be further analyzed during specific meetings with the WCO and international experts and a simulation exercise may be organized to practically test existing procedures and protocols.