Both air and maritime terrorism pose a serious threat to international peace and security. Terrorist groups have targeted planes, sea vessels and other means of transport as vulnerable targets. They have also weaponized means of transport to commit such attacks, of which 9/11 (in the U.S.) is one of the most widely known tragic examples.

Effective legal frameworks, criminal justice, operational and technical capacities are essential to enable Member States to prevent and respond to terrorist acts against air and maritime transportation. Out of 19 international legal instruments, 12 are related to preventing terrorism against international civil aviation and maritime navigation. UNODC supports Member States by providing legislative and capacity-building assistance.

Civil Aviation

UNODC promotes adherence to these international instruments. We provide legislative assistance to Member States for the revision and drafting of national legislation in line with international legal provisions and standards. We also deliver capacity-building training on the implementation of the air transportation legal instruments, facilitate interagency coordination, and foster international cooperation. In this connection, our technical assistance in this area is closely coordinated with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
UNODC is a partner of the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, managed by UNOCT, and implemented with six international organizations. This Programme aims at assisting Member States with enhancing their detection capabilities against terrorists through the use of passenger data exchange systems such as Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR). UNODC supports countries in the review of their national legislation in line with international standards and human rights considerations.

Maritime Navigation

UNODC strengthens awareness and knowledge of these international legal instruments. We support Member States with revising and drafting adequate legal frameworks to criminalize maritime terrorist-related crimes. This helps establish the legal basis to investigate and prosecute such offences in accordance with the rule of law and human rights.
We work on supporting countries with countering terrorism at sea, in close coordination with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as through our Global Maritime Crime Programme, and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme delivering legislative assistance, specialized training and in-depth expertise around the world.

Assistance tools

In coordination with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, UNODC developed a legal training curriculum module on Transport-related (civil aviation and maritime) Terrorism Offences. This module is aimed at supporting counter-terrorism practitioners and interested readers to familiarize themselves with the requirements of international counter-terrorism instruments related to air and maritime transportation, so that they can effectively develop or deepen their knowledge of the international legal framework pertaining to maritime and civil aviation-related terrorist offences.