I. Relevant Security Council resolution and Implementation Assistance Notice No. 7
The comprehensive humanitarian exemption mechanism as established by the 1718 Sanctions Committee to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is provided by the following:
- Security Council resolution 2397 (2017): paragraph 25
Implementation Assistance Notice No. 7 (IAN No 7): “Guidelines for Obtaining Exemptions to Deliver Humanitarian Assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”
* Optional template documents to be used for exemption applications:
II. Who can submit a request for a humanitarian exemption to the Committee?
- Member States;
- International Organizations; and
- Non-Governmental Organizations
that carry out assistance/relief activities in the DPRK for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK.
International and non-governmental organizations can seek exemptions from the Committee through:
1) Member States; or
2) the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator to the DPRK if a Member State is unable or any other way not in a postion to route such a request to the Committee; or
3) through the Committee Secretary if both a Member State and the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the DPRK are unable to submit in any other way not in a position to submit exemption requests to the Committee.
For more information, please see IAN No 7 .
*United Nations agencies, ICRC, IFRC, IOC, or an organization that has received two or more exemptions during 18 months preceding the date of the new application, or whose exemption request is in regards to providing urgent emergency humanitarian assistance to the DPRK people, such as aid to fight against pandemic outbreaks, like Covid-19, or aid to respond to natural disaster, can submit exemption requests directly to the Committee via the Committee Secretary, in accordance with the relevant national authorities and organization bylaws.
For mor information, please see IAN No. 7
III. What is the format of a request for humanitarian exemption?
Requests are to be submitted, on official letterhead, containing the following elements:
- Nature of humanitarian assistance proposed to be provided to the DPRK for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK;
- Explanation of the DPRK recipients and criteria employed to select beneficiaries;
- Reasons for requiring a Committee exemption;
- Detailed description with quantities and relevant specifications (including, to the extent possible, make, model and manufacturer) of the goods and services to be provided within the exemption period to the DPRK for what purpose and to whom;
- Planned date(s) of proposed transfer to the DPRK within the exemption period;
- Planned route(s) and method(s) of transfer including ports of departure and entry to be used for shipments;
- All parties involved in the transfers, including DPRK entities, whether receiving authorization or or proviiding support, that can be identified at the time of submission of the application;
- Financial transactions associated with the transfers;
- Annex containing itemized list of all planned transfers of goods and services with quantities, approximate value of goods and services in U.S. dollars or local currency, and planned shipment date;
- Confirmation whether the Committee approval letter and its annex can be published on the 1718 Committee website upon issuance, and
- Measures to ensure that assistance to be provided to the DPRK are used for the intended purposes, such as monitoring plan, and not diverted for prohibited purposes.
Applicants obtaining exemptions should do their utmost to consolidate all planned shipments into three shipments or less every nine months, per project, to the extent practicable. In case of necessary and well-justified changes to items planned for transfer to the DPRK (such as exact specifications and quantities) and/or the method and parties involved in the transactions (such a the final shipping and delivery plan), the applicant shoud promptly provide the Committee with all changes needed for review through a follow-up exemption letter.The requested changes will be reviewed and appropriate adjustments made to the exemption, where necessary. If an applicant is unable to provide the above information, the applicant should submit the reason the information is missing and a plan to update the Committee as the details become available. Applicants facing any challenges during the process should consult the relevant Member State, the Committee Chair, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the DPRK.
For applicants' convenience and optional use, the Committee has made available the following optional template documents to be used for exemption applications:
IV. How to submit requests for exemptions for humanitarian assistance to the Committee
- Request from Member States are to be submitted to:
- The Chair of the Committee, Her Excellency Ms. Mona Juul (Norway) with copy to the Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Davey McNab, Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requests from international and Non-Governmental Organizations if a Member State is unable or in any other way not in a position to route such a request to the Committee are to be submitted to:
- The United Nations Resident Coordinator in the DPRK a.i., Mr. Frode Mauring, Email address: email@example.com
- Requests from International and Non-Governmental Organizations if both a Member State and the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the DPRK are unable or in any other way not in the position to submit exemption requests to the Committee:
- The Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Davey McNab, Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
United Nations agencies, ICRC, IFRC, IOC, or an organization that has received two or more exemptions during 18 months preceding the date of the new application, or whose exemption request is in regards to providing urgent emergency humanitarian assistance to the DPRK people, such as aid to fight against pandemic outbreaks, like Covid-19, or aid to respond to natural disaster, can submit exemption requests directly to the Committee via the Committee Secretary, in accordance with the relevant national authorities and organization bylaws.
V. Committee Exemption Approval Process
The Committee endeavors to process humanitarian exemption requests as quickly as possible to provide decisions within a reasonable timeframe in accordance withe the Committee Guidelines. Exemptions will be granted for a period of nine months from the date of the letter by hwich the Committee has granted the exemption, unless the applicant specifically requests otherwise and provides a well-founded justification, such as transportation delays related to a pandemic, for the Committee to consider.
If the applicant that received an exemption is unable to complete the project within the exemption timeframe, the applicant should submit an extension request with an explanation, at least ten business days before the expiration date of the exemption. The Committee withh review extension requests, update exemption requests, and urgent emergency humanitarian assistance requests, such as those aimed at responding to pandemic outbreaks, like COVID-19, or natural disasters on an expedited timeframe.
VI. Committee Exemption Approval Letter
If the Committee approves a request, it will issue a Committee Exemption Approval Letter to the requesting party that explains specifically what the Committee approves for transfer to the DPRK. An annex with an approved list of goods and services by quantity and planned shipment date will be appended to the Committee approval letter.
The Committee approval letter and its annex will be published on the 1718 Committee website upon issuance for the public for the exemption period. The approval letter will be translated to all UN languages and the applicant may share it with relevant parties. If there is a need for the annex to be translated, for example, to help with procurement, customs, or financial transactions, the applicant should include a translated version in its initial application to be posted online once approved.
Limitations of 1718 Committee Exemptions
Receiving exemptions from the Committee for United Nations sanctions does not exempt those organizations and their proposed transactions from the relevant domestic regulations and licensing requirements of Member States involved in those transactions. All international or non-governmental organizations requesting exemptions from the Committee must also fully observe relevant regulatory and licensing requirements of Member States that have jurisdiction over all aspects of the proposed transactions and involved parties, such as submitting a translated version of the annex of the Committee exemption approval letter to the customs authority in countries where English is not an official language and adhering to cash carry limitations.
As of 23 July 2021, the Committee has approved a total of 80 humanitarian exemption requests in accordance with paragraph 25 of Security Council resolution 2397 (2017).
VI. Humanitarian Exemption(s) in Effect
Exemption granted to
|Purpose of the humanitarian assistance||Approval letter and annex (containing approved list of goods and services and planned shipment date)||
Start date of approved exemption
Date of expiration of approved exemption
Christian Friends of Korea (CFK)
|Procurement and shipment to the DPRK of materials and equipment required for CFK’s humanitarian projects for vulnerable populations of tuberculosis, hepatitis and pediatric patients in the DPRK, extended for an exceptional 12-month timeframe given the challenges related to the shipment of goods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.||CFK exemption request – approval letter and annex||7 August 2019||
14 December 2022
|UNFPA||Procurement and import of two vehicles and their various spare parts to the DPRK, solely for the implementation of the UNFPA Country Programme and to be used by UNFPA personnel for day-to-day monitoring and carrying out of authorized UNFPA programme activities, including field missions to areas where UNFPA is providing humanitarian assistance for the civilian population of the DPRK.||UNFPA exemption request – approval letter and annex||18 October 2019||
16 April 2022
|UNICEF||Shipment of items essential for UNICEF’s programmes in the DPRK, including its health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene programmes, necessary for the delivery of safe water supply to communities and children in schools, nurseries and kindergartens, and to allow for the effective treatment of individuals admitted to hospitals, in particular to assist mothers with complicated deliveries that require surgery.||UNICEF exemption request – approval letter and annex||
9 December 2019
19 March 2022
|World Food Programme||Shipment of items to the DPRK for WFP’s humanitarian assistance activities addressing malnutrition and food insecurity of the civilian population of the DPRK, provided for in WFP’s DPRK Interim Country Strategic Plan (2019-2021).||WFP exemption request – approval letter and annex||20 January 2020||23 July 2022|
SAM Care International
|Shipment of medical equipment, medicine and food into the DPRK for the Pyong Yang Third Hospital as part of SAM Care International’s humanitarian medical support aimed at updating medical machinery and equipment, ensuring access to medicines that treat illnesses and alleviate pain, sending nutritionally fortified foods to treat extreme hunger and malnutrition, and supporting the recovery of surgical and post-operative patients.||SAM Care International exemption request – approval letter and annex||7 February 2020||
10 August 2022
|EBF||Shipment of supplies necessary to maintain and expand EBF’s ongoing diagnosis and treatment program for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis in the DPRK, granted for an exceptional 12-month timeframe given the challenges related to the shipment of goods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.||EBF exemption request – approval letter and annex||29 June 2021||29 June 2022|
Procurement of emergency reproductive health (RH) kits and essential medical equipment required for the provision of life-saving sexual and reproductive health services for women in the DPRK.
|UNFPA exemption request – approval letter and annex||10 June 2020||30 December 2021|
Import of items into the DPRK within the scope of a humanitarian assistance project undertaken by the nongovernmental organization Finn Church Aid (FCA), to enhance the food security of vulnerable primary school aged children in two counties in North Hwanghae province through supporting supplementary school feeding programs, and to conduct disaster risk reduction and education in emergencies activities to bolster the resilience of vulnerable children and their families.
|Finland exemption request – approval note verbale and annex||24 June 2020||7 December 2021|
|Italy||Shipment of agricultural machinery and equipment to the DPRK by AGROTEC SPA, an Italian company which was contracted by the European Commission to export the abovementioned machinery and equipment for the purpose of improving food security in the DPRK.||Italy exemption request – approval note verbale and annex||25 July 2019||9 January 2022|
|Republic of Korea||Import of items into the DPRK by the nongovernmental organization Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Research Center (IKECRC) to engage in humanitarian activities, in particular diagnostic equipment to support the diagnosis and control of African Swine Fever (ASF).||RoK exemption request – approval letter and annex||22 July 2020||18 January 2022|
Shipment of medical equipment essential for UNICEF’s operations in the DPRK focused on mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tuberculosis and malaria, as part of the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM), to increase the level of preparedness and operational readiness for COVID-19 in both tuberculosis and malaria programmes, granted for an exceptional 12-month timeframe given the challenges related to the manufacturing and shipment of goods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|UNICEF exemption request – approval letter and annex||24 July 2020||13 August 2022|
|Republic of Korea||
Import of items to support the Improving Nutrition of Vulnerable Groups project, in Nampo and South Pyongan Province, through the provision of a glass greenhouse system and related materials.
|RoK exemption request – approval letter and annex||4 August 2020||29 January 2022|
|Republic of Korea||
Import of items by the nongovernmental organization Medical Aid for Children (MAC) for a medical equipment assistance project aimed at providing healthcare services to children and other vulnerable groups in the DPRK.
|RoK exemption request – approval letter and annex||13 August 2020||9 February 2022|
|Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)||Import of items into the DPRK by MSF to implement its medical programs to enable an adequate level of preparedness to respond to COVID-19-related needs arising in the DPRK; to respond to malnutrition-related needs; to implement a project which primarily aims at improving the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis as well as multi drug resistance tuberculosis among the population of North Hamgyong Province; and addressing urgent and general medical needs of the population living in the county of Kyongsong of North Hamgyong Province.||MSF exemption request – approval note verbale and annex||14 October 2020||14 October 2021|
|Republic of Korea||Project aimed at drinking water improvement to provide safe and clean drinking water in the DPRK.||22 January 2021||18 October 2022|
|Singapore Red Cross||Import of items into the DPRK as part of the COVID-19 prevention and control activities of the DPRK Red Cross Society, by donating RT-PCR equipment, testing kits, and related items to local hospitals in the DPRK to support their efforts to prevent COVID-19.||SRC exemption request – approval letter and annex||6 May 2021||6 February 2022|
Shipment of disinfection kits for 30 hospitals and 2000 sets of personal protective equipment to the DPRK by the agency Swiss Humanitarian Aid, which is part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, to support ongoing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the territory of the DPRK.
|Switzerland exemption request – approval letter and annex||11 March 2020||17 November 2021|
Shipment of items essential for UNICEF’s programmes in the DPRK, including in the areas of health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene, necessary for the delivery of safe water supply to communities and children in schools and nurseries; the effective treatment of individuals admitted to hospitals, in particular to assist mothers with complicated deliveries that require surgery; and to support statistics offices and resource centers that collect and report data relevant to children, to enable the effective situational and statistical monitoring of UNICEF’s humanitarian programmes, granted for an exceptional 12-month timeframe given the challenges related to the manufacturing and shipment of goods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|UNICEF exemption request – approval letter and annex||2 June 2020||5 August 2022|
Export of medical equipment for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in the DPRK, in particular the delivery of six units of a Rotor-Disc 100 Starter Kit for a PCR device to the Ministry of Public Health of the DPRK.
|Germany exemption request – approval note verbale and annex||23 July 2021||23 April 2022|