There’s nothing like beating the breast and extolling the homeland’s unselfish generosity for the benefit of mankind, or am I being facetious? Today’s post on the US Customs and Border Protection‘s website titled “CBP Leads World Customs Organization on Natural Disaster Responsiveness” , is a case in point. The reader is left in no doubt as to who was responsible for recent developments that provide for a Customs role in natural disasters. I read with interest New Zealand Customs‘ role in the Christchurch earthquakes last year – very understated and with empathy for the survivors. The WCO consists over 177 affiliated customs administrations / border agencies each of whom make some form of contribution to it’s various committees and resulting accords or standards. So what if CBP made a major contribution, its a cheap shot to boast at the expense of others who might also have contributed, if not to the same extent. Read the article here!
With the increase in the number of natural disasters, Customs administrations have been called to react more efficiently and effectively, by applying modern procedures to facilitate the rapid entry, exit and transit of disaster relief consignments, including relief personnel, needed to assist victims.
As a concrete response, in June 2011, the World Customs Organization (WCO) adopted a coherent strategy, in the form of a Resolution with a set of practical recommendations for Customs on what to do in the event of a natural disaster to speed up the clearance and release of relief consignments at borders.
Among other things, the Resolution instructs the WCO Secretariat to create a dedicated web page on the WCO public website, containing all existing instruments of relevance to natural disaster relief, including useful links to tools developed by various WCO partners involved in managing natural disaster relief operations.
The WCO Secretariat is pleased to announce that this dedicated web page on the role of Customs in natural disaster relief is now available on the WCO public website and includes a discussion forum hosted by Club de la Réforme – an online WCO think-tank to facilitate communication and exchange of experiences and best practices between WCO Members.
The Customs Community and all interested persons are invited to visit the web page: