On 23 February 2021, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at a High-Level Policy Segment organized in the margins of the 83rd Session of the Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The high-level session ran under the theme “Back to a sustainable future: achieving resilient connectivity for post-COVID-19 sustained recovery and economic growth” and gathered more than 400 participants from government authorities with a mandate in inland transport (road, rail, inland waterways and intermodal), other international, regional and non-governmental organizations.
Dr. Mikuriya highlighted the role that a standard-setting organization can play in times of crisis and discussed the lessons learned from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained the importance of consultation with the private sector, collaboration with other international organizations and the use of the soft law approach to address the challenges in a flexible and agile manner. Secretary General Mikuriya elaborated on the role of Customs in bolstering recovery from the crisis through collaboration, digitization for renewal of Customs and trade systems and preparedness in making supply chain resilient and sustainable, and therefore the need to work closely with the inland transport sector.
The High-Level Policy Segment concluded with the endorsement of a Ministerial Resolution on “Enhancing resilient inland transport connectivity in emergency situations: an urgent call for concerted action” by participating Ministers, deputy Ministers and Heads of delegations of Contracting Parties to the United Nations Transport Conventions under the purview of the Inland Transport Committee. The 83rd Session of the Committee will continue till 26 February 2021.