Workshop for the development of upstream network and financial disruption strategies to Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IEDs) brings national and international experts together in Islamabad 

15 June 2023, Islamabad - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, in collaboration with the National Action to Counter Terrorism (NACTA) and with financial support from the U.S. Embassy's Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement  (INL), organized a three-day National Workshop on Evolving responses of Countering Improvised Explosive Devices in terrorism-related offenses through upstream network disruption from June 13-15 2023 at Islamabad.

The purpose of the workshop was to supplement the expertise of national officials from multiple organizations and agencies, including the Airport Security Force, Civil Defence officials, Pakistan Coast Guards, Railway Police, and Pakistan Customs through the development of upstream network and financial disruption strategies to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IEDs). International participating organizations included INTERPOL, Conflict Armament Research (CAR), World Customs Organization (WCO), and Terrorism Prevention Branch, UNODC, Vienna. 

The first day of the workshop was focused on the UNIDIR Self-Assessment Tools on IEDs. This session familiarized participants with the self-assessment tools developed by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) to evaluate their capabilities in countering improvised explosive devices (C-IEDs) and identify areas for improvement. Then the next session explored the international legal framework surrounding counterterrorism (CT) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), with a specific focus on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2370 (2017). Participants gained an understanding of the legal obligations and provisions related to preventing the use of IEDs as a tool of terrorism and the role of international cooperation in addressing this threat.

Another session supplementing the workshop highlighted the significance of electronic evidence in investigations related to IEDs. It covered the legal and practical aspects of collecting, preserving, and sharing electronic evidence cross-border. Also discussed was the  National Legislation about Criminal Justice Responses in Preventing and Countering IEDs.

On the second day, an international expert from World Customs Organization's Programme Global Shield (PGS) underlined the aims to prevent the illicit trafficking of precursor chemicals and other materials used to manufacture IEDs. The session provided an overview of PGS's objectives and highlighted the current activities and initiatives undertaken by the WCO to disrupt the supply chain of IED materials.

Of note is the emphasis on the importance of upstream prevention in countering IEDs.Then the expert from INTERPOL delivered a session on the use of international databases, particularly INTERPOL's I-24/7, in combating IED-related crimes. This session was followed by Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and Self-Assessment Tool briefing. Participants explored the self-assessment tool based on CMM principles, which enables them to assess their organization's capability maturity level in countering IEDs. The purpose was to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in C-IED operations.

On the last day of the workshop, participants shared their national experiences, good practices, and challenges in countering IEDs. The purpose was to foster knowledge exchange and peer learning, enabling participants to gain insights into successful strategies, innovative approaches, and potential solutions to common challenges in C-IED efforts. The next session focused on INTERPOL's Watchmakers initiative, which aims to enhance global security by targeting the illicit trade of explosives and IED components. Participants learned about the objectives, methodologies, and tools employed by Watchmakers to disrupt the illegal supply chain and support law enforcement efforts in countering IEDs.The final session examined regional IED risk factors and the corresponding responses. Participants discussed the unique challenges and dynamics specific to their respective regions. The purpose was to promote regional collaboration, exchange best practices, and develop a comprehensive understanding of the regional context in countering IEDs.

The workshop concluded by recognizing the participants' efforts, thanking the organizing entities, and distributing certificates at the closing of the last session. During the workshop, participants gained valuable insights, knowledge, and tools for countering improvised explosive devices (C-IEDs) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). The workshop covered various aspects, from legal frameworks and international cooperation to practical techniques and regional dynamics, aiming to enhance participants' capabilities and foster collaboration in addressing the threat of IEDs.

INL funding made this workshop possible.