UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation to speed up delivery of critical supplies

The new partnership will identify and implement solutions to expedite delivery of critical supplies to children, and strengthen global resilience to future shocks

UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation have formalized a global partnership to help UNICEF and partners deliver critical supplies quickly and efficiently, including lifesaving vaccines and medical devices, to vulnerable communities.

The supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed a lack of global preparedness and coordination between and within countries, and weak integration of logistic systems, hampering the movement of essential goods across borders when most needed.

Supply chain blockages and unnecessary delays in the delivery of life-saving humanitarian supplies can and should be prevented. UNICEF has used innovation and grit to overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic and continues to leverage partner expertise to support vulnerable children and families,” said Carla Haddad Mardini, UNICEF Director for Private Fundraising and Partnerships.“We must continue to work together, both public and private actors, to build efficient systems to reach children in need. This exciting partnership between the Alliance and UNICEF can help us get there,” she added.

The Alliance is a global public-private partnership dedicated to supporting developing and least-developed countries in implementing the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. The partnership will support governments in select countries to modernize customs and border processes that will ensure faster importation and clearance of critical supplies for children and their communities, as well as reducing costs.

The Alliance is working with UNICEF in engaging government agencies, businesses, and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen country level systems to ensure more streamlined and predictable processes, including through simplification, modernization and digitalization of importation and clearance procedures.

“Outdated manual processes that create unnecessary delays at borders not only harm trade, but they also hinder international aid efforts,” said Philippe Isler, Director of the Alliance. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the urgency of modernizing and digitalizing procedures to improve the lives of people in developing and least developed countries, identifying and removing impediments to moving critical goods across borders. Our partnership with UNICEF recognizes the role that trade facilitation techniques can play in ensuring essential items reach people who need them as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The collaboration between the Alliance and UNICEF, started with the launch of a project in Mozambique in June last year. The initiative is automating and streamlining processes governing imports of routine vaccines and associated medical products. Another initiative is currently being prepared in Botswana and similar efforts will be rolled out in other countries facing comparable challenges.

UNICEF and the Alliance will also work together to make the case for scaling up importation and clearance process improvements across countries and regions, calling on governments, businesses and other relevant stakeholders to address related issues requiring collective action, stronger public-private collaboration and policy change.