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Digital tools for disaster management: the third edition of the COVID-19 Project newsletter is online

25 mayo 2022

The WCO COVID-19 Project, launched in July 2020 with the financial support of the Government of Japan, released the third edition of its newsletter, themed “Promotion of modern and digital Customs for efficient disaster relief operations.” In addition to dealing with IT tools and disaster management, the bulletin also touches upon the latest activities carried out by the WCO Secretariat to underpin the priorities set by the WCO COVID-19 Action Plan, listing specific objectives and measures to mitigate the pandemic, with special attention given to facilitation and compliance matters.

The health crisis and other natural disasters that recently hit different parts of the world, such as the tsunami that struck Tonga in January 2022, confirm once again the important role played by Customs in facilitating the movement of the critical supplies and in ensuring efficient coordination with the numerous actors involved in the importation of relief shipments during humanitarian operations. COVID-19 also sped up the digitalization of global trade-related procedures, including Customs ones, making it a priority to guarantee supply chain continuity without compromising on the safety and lawfulness of commercial flows.

The pandemic showed the international community that the future is uncertain and it is of the utmost importance to be well prepared to deal with unpredictable scenarios. For this reason, the WCO COVID-19 Project focused this edition of its newsletter on natural disaster preparedness and how Customs can make the most of the existing technology to tackle humanitarian crises in a timely and well-ordered way.

Readers will gain insight into the technical support provided by the COVID-19 Project to beneficiary countries, including Angola, Comoros, Madagascar and the Dominican Republic, which requested capacity building assistance to improve their disaster relief legal framework, significantly enhancing their ability to respond to emergency situations. The newsletter also delves into the training that can help border agencies and stakeholders adequately prepare for disruptive events, such as simulation exercises, and provides an overview of the excellent results achieved by WCO Members in the fight against illegal flows of COVID-19 related goods, including through the improvement of online communication systems. 

This newsletter follows two other editions published by the COVID-19 Project in November and June 2021, dealing with the facilitation of COVID-19 vaccines and the best practices implemented by Members to tackle the challenges stemming from the pandemic, respectively. 

The newsletter is available here

Other editions and additional information on the WCO COVID-19 Project are available here