The World Customs Organization (WCO) through it Customs for Relief of Epidemic Diseases (C-RED) Project on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 kicked off a four-day training for Customs officers of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) as well as partners working in relief projects.
The WCO C-RED Project is intended to assist Customs Administrations in West Africa to be better prepared to minimize the effects of regional epidemic diseases and natural disasters.
the project foresees to provide capacity building support to the beneficiary Customs Administrations (LRA one of them) to develop mechanisms, based on international best practices that guide the release of relief goods in case of the outbreak of a regional epidemic disease or a natural disaster, through national preparedness and regional cooperation.
In order to do so, the project fosters regional experience sharing based on experiences in the Ebola crisis as well as national support in the development and implementation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) for the priority release of relief goods.
The training taking place at the LRA headquarters is facilitated by project staff of the WCO. Participants brought together include representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Disaster Agency, WHO, UNICEF and corporate organizations.Participants are being taught that fundamentals and key strategies to develop SOPs which will serve as working documents for natural disaster management.
Speaking at the opening of the training, Customs Commissioner Saa Samoi welcomed the initiative, stating that it is important that customs operations are enhanced because during crisis and health emergencies customs activities encounter challenges.
Commissioner Samoi added that it is important to enhance the skills and knowledge of customs officers to be prepared when disasters occur.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the opening of the training, the lead facilitator and Project Manager of WCO- RED Project, Eve Gerard, said the training is part of WCO capacity development to strengthen customs activities in West Africa.
Ms. Gerard said it is important for the LRA to develop an SOP to enhance the operation of its customs activities in disasters periods.
She noted that key goal of the training is to provide support to Customs Administration in West Africa that were mainly affected by the Ebola crisis.