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Managing Risk for Post-Pandemic Trade: UNECE and ITC launch a Guide for Border Regulators

Managing Risk for Post-Pandemic Trade: UNECE and ITC launch a Guide for Border Regulators

Unloading goods from a truck/ Checking imported goods

Border control agencies are faced with limited resources. Streamlining risk management at the border and applying a risk-based approach to target high-risk movements of goods can help to address this challenge. Risk management can also be a tool to facilitate the clearance process during disruptions such as those during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In many countries, the entry of goods onto a market is often regulated by multiple agencies, each with their own risk criteria that need to be controlled before the release of the goods. This requires coordination between regulators at the border in order to ensure that there are not unnecessary delays or redundant processes.  

New technologies and digital tools contribute to the evolution of data-driven risk management systems and can help automate the identification of risks. The use of artificial intelligence can facilitate the accurate collection, assessment and use of data for risk-based decision making. 

UNECE, jointly with the International Trade Centre (ITC) launched on 31 August a guide on managing risks. This is the first dedicated publication on the topic, presenting a coherent and integrated approach by border regulatory agencies. The aim is to assist border control authorities to manage risk in support of trade development that depends on safety and efficiency of international trade procedures. The guide is available at: 

This publication offers a roadmap for regulatory agencies, in particular for those in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, that shows how to build modern, integrated risk management and compliance systems at the border. The guide aims to help these agencies expedite trade flows in the post-pandemic world, while ensuring compliance with and the safety of cross-border trade procedures. The guide reflects the key work developed within UNECE’s Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Polices (WP.6) on the topic, notably “Recommendation R on Managing Risk in Regulatory Frameworks”, “Recommendation S on Applying Predictive Risk Management Tools for Targeted Market Surveillance” and “Recommendation T on Standards and Regulations for Sustainable Development”. 

By implementing modern, risk-based processes that balance the need for compliance with trade facilitation, it will be possible for Governments to ensure that essential goods reach their destination on time and compliance is maintained for the benefit of citizens.  

This contributes to a number of SDG targets, including under Goal 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure (target 9.1), and relating to partnerships (targets 17.1, 17.8 and 17.14). 

For more information on the work of WP.6, visit  

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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