UNODC Supports Central Asian States to Enhance Border Management Capacities and Cooperation Against Terrorism

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017) calls upon Member States to "prevent the movement of terrorists by effective national border controls", and to "intensify and accelerate the timely exchange of relevant operational information" regarding suspected terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), especially through the "exchange of information with their countries of origin, residence or nationality, transit, as well as their destination country."

On 16-18 April 2019, UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch and the Regional Office for Central Asia, border cooperation component, conducted a regional workshop on "Enhancing information sharing and the use of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR), biometrics and other data for border security and countering FTFs" in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The workshop was organized within the framework of UNODC's project aimed at assisting the Member States in implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017). Enhancing the collection, use, dissemination and contribution of intelligence, data and evidence in beneficiary countries is among the objectives of the project, funded by the U.S. Government.

The workshop gathered over 50 participants, including 32 government officials from five Central Asian States and 10 international experts who discussed challenges related to cross-border movement of terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters, as well as strategies and measures Member States should develop and implement to enhance border security and management in accordance with human rights standards.

Ms. Dolgor Solongo, Programme Officer, UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch, elaborated the international community's concerns regarding the threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters who seek to return to their countries of origin or to relocate to third countries with a potential to organize terrorist attacks. She underlined that enhanced data collection, analysis and sharing, use of biometrics, watchlists and other data lead to better detection and identification of cross-border movements of foreign terrorist fighters.

The event provided opportunities to share knowledge and best practices on the setup and deployment of API/PNR systems while ensuring the protection of privacy and safety of personal data. The Central Asian officials expressed interest in implementing API/PNR systems, using national, regional and international databases, strengthening cross-border collaboration, information and data exchange, as well as continuous cooperation with UNODC in preventing transnational crime and terrorism. They requested technical assessments, familiarisation with international practices, specialized trainings, as well as technical support in setting up API/PNR systems, biometrics and other data collection, analysis and sharing methods.

The workshop included expert presentations and case studies on the use of databases and watchlists as well as an interactive session on the detection and identification of FTFs.

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