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WCO Members of the Asia-Pacific region share lessons learnt from COVID-19 and discuss ways to enhance preparedness to tackle disruptive events

17 mayo 2022

As part of its activities carried out to assist WCO Members in tackling the challenges stemming from COVID-19, other infectious diseases and natural disasters, the WCO COVID-19 Project, funded by the Government of Japan, held an online workshop on disaster management and supply chain continuity for the Asia-Pacific region from 11 to 13 May 2022.  The Workshop was organized in cooperation with the WCO Regional Office for Capacity Building for Asia-Pacific (ROCB A/P) and aimed to foster the sharing of experiences and lessons learnt stemming from the pandemic.

The Workshop brought together over one hundred participants representing 18 Members.  It focused on the role of Customs administrations in emergency situations and was instrumental in identifying challenges, potential solutions and mechanisms to facilitate cooperation amongst border authorities and stakeholders involved in the supply of relief goods in case of  disruptive events.

In his opening remarks, the Head of the Asia-Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building, Mr. Norikazu Kuramoto, thanked the Government of Japan for the financial support and the WCO for the capacity building activities carried out throughout the pandemic. He also underlined that, since the start of COVID-19, WCO Members and the Secretariat made outstanding efforts to overcome the challenges affecting international trade and recalled the importance of fostering collective work in the Asia-Pacific region in this respect. The opening ceremony was then followed by eleven sessions covering a number of matters relevant to Customs when dealing with natural disaster management, with special attention given to the WCO instruments and tools developed before and after the COVID-19 outbreak, the digitalization of Customs procedures and the strengthening of synergies with the different actors of the humanitarian supply chain.  

Throughout the event, participants presented the experiences of their respective national Administration and exchanged views about the measures put in place to tackle the global health crisis.  A number of delegates underlined the benefits of disseminating such best practices to the wider Customs community, with a view to promoting a harmonized and constructive approach to disaster management, and appreciated having the opportunity to do so in the framework of the Workshop.

Participants also made a number of recommendations to achieve a common vision for the Region, touching upon compliance with international standards, data sharing, automated clearance and flexible guidelines to deal with unpredictable scenarios and support Customs administrations in carrying out their mission of supporting economies and protecting societies in an efficient and safe manner.

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