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WCO reiterates the key role of Customs in humanitarian crises

16 marzo 2022

On 16 March 2022, the Secretariat of the World Customs Organization (WCO) issued a dedicated Secretariat Note to reiterate the important role that Customs plays in humanitarian crises, as well as to remind Member Customs administrations of the available WCO instruments, tools and guidance material and the measures they can implement with regard to the clearance of humanitarian supplies, including medicines and medical equipment.

In the event of a natural disaster or similar catastrophe, as well as in sustained emergencies such as conflict, famine or disease, it is critical that aid to those affected by such catastrophes be delivered and moved across international boundaries efficiently and expeditiously. The effectiveness of humanitarian assistance is dependent to a large extent on the speed with which it can be furnished. It is therefore imperative that Customs administrations be as facilitative as possible and be prepared to rapidly clear goods that, as a result of catastrophic events, are being forwarded as aid.

“Member Customs administrations are urged to implement measures, as outlined in the WCO instruments and tools, and facilitate the cross-border movement of humanitarian supplies, including medicines and medical equipment in view of their swift delivery to the affected population of Members suffering from humanitarian crises, including the current crisis in Ukraine”, said the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya on the launch of the Secretariat Note.

As indicated in the Secretary General’s Statement on Ukraine of 9 March 2022, the WCO is monitoring the crisis very closely in coordination with the WCO Council Chair, with a special attention to the implications the crisis is having on Customs. The WCO stands ready to provide further technical guidance to Members as may be required.