On Thursday, October 19th, Mr. Zachary N. Muñoz, Advisor, delivered a statement to the Third Committee concerning the negative effects of unilateral measures.
In Mr. Muñoz’s statement, the Sovereign Order of Malta expressed deep concern regarding the negative impact of bureaucratic slowdowns, as well as custom and tariff regimes on the delivery of humanitarian aid. He emphasized the impediments these flawed systems pose to the distribution of essential goods and services, such as food, healthcare, and education, provided by humanitarian aid agencies like Malteser International and the wider international aid network. The Sovereign Order of Malta also pointed out the importance of resolution 77/214, which shed light on these challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the ongoing global health crisis, it became evident that humanitarian exemptions, typically covering medicines and equipment, often proved to be ineffective and inefficient due to customs inspections and seizures. Such barriers resulted in critical delays in delivering much-needed aid, exacerbating the already dire circumstances in the affected regions.
Mr. Muñoz highlighted these concerns, which were presented by H.E. Ambassador Paul Beresford-Hill at the United Nations Security Council during the Open Debate on the Middle East and Palestine. Ambassador Beresford-Hill pointed out that efforts by humanitarian agencies are further hampered by financial constraints and complex tax arrangements, which obstruct the smooth movement of medical aid across borders.
Bureaucratic customs and excise procedures create significant delays, hindering the timely entry of essential medical supplies and equipment into the affected regions. This not only jeopardizes the well-being of the communities in need but also inflates the overall cost of humanitarian aid through fines, penalties, and fees.
Mr. Muñoz stressed the urgent need for international cooperation to tackle these challenges and ensure that humanitarian aid can reach those in need without unnecessary delays and obstacles. He concluded by illustrating how taking such action and streamlining the customs and tariff processes would benefit not only the Sovereign Order of Malta but also other like-minded entities. He asserted that this is essential to facilitate the free and efficient movement of aid during times of crisis.