The United Nations has released a first version of a Handbook on Provisions and Options for Trade in Times of Crisis and Pandemic’
Work on the handbook was initiated by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa (ECA), Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), West Asia (ESCWA) and Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after realising that the hundreds of regional trade agreements in place provided no guidance to countries on how to keep trade going during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, especially during the first half of 2020, many countries took ad-hoc unilateral measures that seriously disrupted international supply chains, including supplies in essential goods, such as medical equipment as well as food.
The handbook is based on inputs collected from a wide range of experts, including from civil society, academia and the private sector, under the Global Initiative on Model Provisions for Trade in Times of Crisis and Pandemic in Regional and other Trade Agreements (IMP). It will be updated based on feedback from users and as new lessons emerge. It is freely accessible at: https://www.unescap.org/kp
The UN has also made available a free online self-paced course based on the handbook.