Sustainable and resilient supply chains crucial to COVID-19 recovery

Through a joint statement on the crucial importance of resilient and sustainable integrated supply chains to the global recovery from COVID-19, ICAO and seven other UN bodies have encouraged States to realize more effective coordination and cooperation between the transport modes, and across borders.

“We are calling on all Governments to maximize the contribution of international trade and supply chains to a sustainable socio-economic recovery in post-COVID-19 times, through greater use of international legal instruments and standards, as well as strengthened regional and sectoral cooperation,” declared ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.

The statement was signed by Dr. Liu and the heads of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (UNECLAC), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA).

It points to a number of specific mechanisms, such as the United Nations TIR Convention and its eTIR International System, the CMR Convention and its eCMR Protocol and the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), and international standards for data exchange, such as those developed by UN/CEFACT, noting that “these instruments allow for moving cargo across borders without requiring physical checks and for reducing contact between people.”

For air transport specifically, States have been invited to follow the key principles presented in the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Report and implement its recommendations and guidelines.

“We are encouraging States to take a risk-based approach to restoring connectivity with minimal restrictions while preventing the spread of COVID-19, protecting the health and safety of drivers, crew and border agency personnel,” Dr. Liu recalled.

Here, the implementation of Public Health Corridors (PHC) will be of special importance to ensuring “COVID-19 free” flight operations.

The joint statement builds on the momentum launched by ICAO in the very earliest days of the pandemic to ensure the safe, secure, and sustainable restoration of air connectivity. This momentum includes the development and then universal and cost-free provision of key technical guidance, and continuous advocacy for the pivotal importance of air transport to both recovery from the pandemic and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

ICAO is also providing States with assistance in regard to the implementation of its COVID-19 recovery materials, including through the organization of webinars. A webinar series on air cargo digitalization, which is scheduled to kick off on 29 September 2020, will directly support the achievement of the objectives of this joint statement.

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