Tiuna De Benito Fernández
ASYCUDA Regional Coordinator UNCTAD-DTL Americas
Founded in 1991, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the UN agency designed to strengthen the UN response to complex emergencies and natural disasters.
The increase in natural disasters or other sudden disasters has highlighted the need to improve the efficiency of the contributions of the international community to humanitarian operations.
OCHA, in close cooperation with UN agencies and the international community, has initiated several activities aimed at improving some key disaster response tools. One of these initiatives is to ensure the application of simplified customs procedures to accelerate the delivery of international humanitarian assistance.
OCHA initiated the development of a Model Agreement between the UN and governments on measures to accelerate the import, export and transit of relief shipments and possessions of relief personnel in the event of disasters and emergencies.
In this context and taking into account that the Integrated System of Customs Management of ASYCUDA, developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), works in many countries prone to disasters and crises, OCHA and UNCTAD have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in early 2014, to improve their cooperation, in particular, by promoting the automation of simplified customs procedures and the processing of international aid in humanitarian emergencies.
The collaboration of OCHA and UNCTAD resulted in the design of ASYREC (Automated System for Assistance Consignments) as a new ASYCUDA module. The initial concept was developed and built by the ASYCUDA Center of Excellence and the Customs Department of HM Gibraltar in an integrated ASYREC system that completely automates the control and monitoring of relief shipments and the possessions of disaster relief personnel and can inter-operate with any Customs system.
Commitment with the private sector:
The United Nations strongly believes in the power of private sector engagement and has a long history of working with the private sector. In recent years, OCHA and the international humanitarian community have been building innovative partnerships with the private sector taking advantage of their local and industry experience to strengthen emergency preparedness and response. This collaboration has become increasingly important as the number of people affected by humanitarian crises continues to rise. It has become clear that the complexity of the world’s emergencies requires the coordinated action of various actors, including the private sector.
Business initiative and connection for humanitarian aid:
Launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the Connecting Business initiative (CBi) is a joint initiative between OCHA and UNDP that engages the private sector at the intersection of humanitarian, development and peace agendas. The initiative aims to transform the way in which the private sector engages before, during and after emergencies, increasing the scale and effectiveness of the response in a coordinated manner. By working together with and supporting private sector networks around the world, CBi reinforces the strategic commitment of the private sector in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery at the social, sectoral and business levels. , and connects the private sector with national, regional and national organizations. International coordination structures.
OCHA’s work with the private sector is guided by the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, the Secretary General’s guidelines on cooperation between the United Nations and the business sector, the OCHA-WEF Guiding Principles for Public-Private Partnership for Humanitarian Action and the Agenda for humanity.
Why is the private sector involved in emergencies?
In March 2016, World Vision International, OCHA and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, launched the Private Sector Humanitarian Partnerships Platform in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to provide humanitarian actors, businesses and governments with the opportunity to help refugees become self-sufficient in sustainable development. profitable ways. Aid agencies, private sector partners and East African governments are recognizing that this model could work on a large scale to help people become more resilient in humanitarian crises.
The private sector has long been a major contributor to humanitarian action. It is increasingly recognized as a major actor along with aid agencies and governments in multiple aspects of humanitarian action. At the community level, companies have long helped communities affected by crises, often using their materials and mobilizing their staff to help humanitarian aid, using their logistical experience.
This vision and projection of the private sector gives more importance and importance to the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), as a certified and reliable assistant to assist in an efficient and transparent manner in the delivery and certainty of delivery of the various humanitarian aid.
Sources: United Nations, UNCTAD, ACHNUR, UNDP, Center of Excellence ASYCUDA and the Customs Department of HM Gibraltar.