Turkey, UN sign customs facilitation deal on humanitarian aid
ANKARATurkey’s government and the United Nations in Turkey have signed a deal that simplifies customs procedures in emergencies, the U.N. Information Center (UNIC) in Ankara has announced.
“When disaster strikes, the timely delivery of relief items is crucial for saving lives. For this reason, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), on behalf of the United Nations system in Turkey, has introduced the customs agreement. This agreement will allow for the speeding up of the import, export and transit of relief consignments, humanitarian personnel and their equipment in the event of emergencies,” UNIC in Ankara said in a statement announcing the signing of the Customs Facilitation Agreement on June 7.
“Turkey is situated in a disaster-prone region and thus has a number of vulnerabilities, in terms of earthquakes, for example. Over the last decade, the government of Turkey has made significant progress in terms of disaster preparedness at national level and as well as in scaling up its humanitarian assistance globally. Today, the Republic of Turkey continues to host the largest refugee population in the world and plays a key role in the support and facilitation of life-saving humanitarian assistance for the affected populations in Syria, managed from Turkey. As such, the government has established procedures for the rapid deployment of international aid in emergencies by lowering customs barriers. The negotiations between the U.N. and the government of Turkey have been successfully concluded,” said the statement.
The agreement is a major step forward in strengthening emergency preparedness and ensuring timely response to affected people, it said.
“The government of Turkey takes its responsibility for Turkey’s and the world’s population very seriously. It is encouraging and heartening to witness both their humanity and dedication to preparedness. The customs agreement signed today is a major achievement for the country and should serve as an inspiring example for the wider region,” noted Kamal Malhotra, the U.N. resident coordinator to Turkey.
The agreement enables U.N. agencies, intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as other humanitarian actors, to quickly agree with the Turkish customs authorities about bringing in relief consignments to save lives and reduce the suffering of affected people in a timely manner.
The customs agreement was signed by the Customs and Trade Ministry undersecretary and Malhotra.