Recently, the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI) procured 298 bullet-proof vests, 400 walkie-talkies, 2,000 first aid kits, and 3 thermographic cameras, among many other items to help Ukraine defend itself. The many procurements have led the EUACI, which is funded by the EU, and co-funded and implemented by Denmark, to look into the steps between an emergency request and its supply. The EUACI’s six steps to organising the delivery of emergency equipment are outlined below.
Russia’s large-scale military invasion of Ukraine has already brought tremendous human suffering, resulting in major loss of lives, an increasing number of casualties, and large-scale destruction of property. Under these circumstances, a lot of EU projects have partially changed the direction of the assistance to their beneficiaries to provide an immediate emergency response.
The EUACI has been a pioneer among EU projects to provide such assistance. The EUACI managed to successfully allocate resources for procurement, conduct the procurement, arrange transportation and logistics, deliver emergency equipment to Ukraine, and successfully distribute it among beneficiaries. Over the last three months, the EUACI has procured various types of assistance, mainly humanitarian aid (clothing, shelter equipment, large-scale generators for strategic infrastructure, etc.). Recently the initiative focused on providing beneficiaries with the individual protective gear, namely 298 bullet-proof vests, 400 walkie-talkies, 2,000 first aid kits, and 3 thermographic cameras which have been already delivered to Ukraine. More items are coming. The process was not easy and included some obstacles that had to be overcome during the procurement.
Alexander Komarov, EUACI Anti-corruption expert summarised a few lessons learned by the EUACI team while organising the delivery of protective gear to Ukraine:
This first step is key. The increased demand and limited supply on the market caused by the Russian military invasion have pushed prices higher and it is fairly hard to judge what should be the normal pricing under these conditions. This makes it highly important to ensure that the supplier is reliable. In the case of protective gear, one good way to check the reliability of the supplier is on the list of the UN Secretariat Registered Vendors.
Taking into account the inflow of humanitarian aid in neighbouring countries, the delivery time might be significant. It makes sense to arrange the logistics and to identify the company that will assist you in the receiving country in advance to proceed with the customs and pickup of the goods as soon as they arrive in order to avoid any extra costs of delay.
It is recommended to hire a company to provide full services of (a) filling out a transit declaration (depending on country, also custom clear goods and pay related fees); (b) filling out other necessary forms; (c) transporting the cargo to Ukraine. You should have all documents ready by the time the cargo arrives in a neighbouring country cargo terminal to save time on further transit.
The procedure should be smooth. It is important to stay in close contact with the driver(s) to be able to resolve any issues that might arise during the border crossing. To ensure that there is no problem with crossing the border, reach out to the Ukrainian Embassy in the neighbouring country and ask for a confirmation stamp providing the validity of the document and send it to your transit company.
Once the goods arrive in Ukraine, it is always a good idea to check them before sending them further to your beneficiary. In this way, you can ensure the number of goods that arrived, check their quality, and get the necessary information for reporting purposes. In case there are some flaws, you can contact the supplier and arrange substitution/return of the protective gear.
Major Ukrainian postal operators have proved themselves to be reliable transportation companies, and their prices for humanitarian assistance delivery (including vests and helmets) are very low.
The EUACI has used these six steps for the procurements of emergency assistance to Ukraine so far and are planning on using them for even bigger procurements to come. Yet, the EUACI is still an anti-corruption organisation and is not only providing funds for the emergency assistance. Resilience and capacity building of the Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions and civil society is continuously being provided in order to promote integrity, transparency, and accountability during wartime.