Central Asia continues to face significant security challenges. This is largely due to its proximity to conflict zones which are marked by terrorist activity, illicit drugs and arms trafficking, as well as vulnerability to terrorist propaganda and recruitment.
To help address some of these challenges, UNODC delivered a workshop to raise awareness on preventing terrorist travel through the collection and analysis of information, including passenger data, biometrics and international databases in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 19-20 September.
During the opening of the event, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, emphasized that “effective border security is the first line of defence against terrorist travel.” By maintaining vigilant border security measures, Central Asian Member States can detect and deter the infiltration of terrorists.
Participants included representatives of relevant ministries and agencies of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with expertise on matters related to passenger information-sharing. During the event, participants acquired valuable knowledge on the collection, processing and use of border security information from experts from UNODC, UNOCT (through its UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme), OSCE and INTERPOL. The event covered several topics ranging from the use of international databases, watch lists, as well as passenger data, including Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, and other relevant tools. The activity also highlighted the benefits of effective collection and analysis of this information, underlining the importance of border security cooperation at different levels - whether intra-agency, inter-agency, regional or international - including the facilitation of cross-border investigations.
Besides being confronted with complex legal challenges related to the investigation and prosecution of cross-border terrorism cases, the participants took part in in-depth discussions on the use of different databases and the use of a passenger information unit to effectively detect, intercept and monitor individuals involved in terrorism-related activities.
The activity was organized under the framework of UNODC’s project entitled “Enhancing Border Management and Security in Response to Terrorism Threats in Central Asia”, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany.