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ICAO traveller identification event highlights key aviation role in combatting terrorism and cross-border crime

Posted: 27 October 2017 | | No comments yet

Nearly 600 delegates from 82 countries and 14 international organisations met this week in Montreal to discuss traveller identification and border management.

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THE GLOBAL LINE OF DEFENCE: ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu delivered the opening address to the ICAO’s 13th Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy Symposium,

The ICAO’s 13th Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy Symposium set out address the five elements of the ICAO TRIP Strategy, including machine readable travel documents (MRTDs) specifications and best practices for document issuance, identification management and related border security issues.

The ICAO’s Secretary General Dr Fang Liu spoke to delegates at the opening of the event.

She said: “The ICAO TRIP strategy reinforces the global line of defence against international terrorist movements, cross border crime, and the many other threats to the safety and security of civil society and international aviation.

“The main part of our work in this area is conducted under Annex 9 to the Chicago Convention, on Facilitation. Facilitation activities are strongly supportive of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the ICAO TRIP Strategy also significantly contributes to UN Security Council Resolutions 2178 and 2309.”

The world’s foremost travel document and identity management event, this latest edition of the TRIP Symposium is seen as an important step in maintaining the global momentum on anti-terrorism priorities recently achieved through the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Dr. Liu presented an aviation security brief to the UN Security Council this September, having also been invited to its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) meeting in July of 2017. Along with enhanced screening and security checks, the CTC has highlighted the important role of airlines in tracking the global movement of higher risk passengers.

“Specifically, the CTC recognised the importance of national authorities sharing advanced passenger information (API),” Dr. Liu noted. “And while many States have not yet introduced related API programmes, I would like to remind them all that API sharing became mandatory under ICAO Annex 9 as of 23 October this year.”

2017 TRIP Symposium sessions provided participants with new insights into latest screening and risk-based security measures, while stressing the importance of partnerships and capacity-building as States work to shore up their respective lines of defence.

“States’ implementation of the TRIP strategy requires coordinated action between many government and industry entities,” Dr. Liu commented, “but we are also aware that TRIP implementation capacities vary from government to government. ICAO and States are addressing this gap by fostering cooperation among both States and industry, intensifying coordination at regional and local levels, and by mobilising donor contributions.”

The extended TRIP planning and implementation guidance needed by States was further addressed at the event through the launch of ICAO’s TRIP Compendium. The new and comprehensive reference document showcases related initiatives by partners such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), while further collating a range of additional ICAO guidance material.

The 2017 TRIP Symposium coincided with two important ICAO workshops on its Public Key Directory (PKD) and new approaches to API, side-events conducted in partnership with the United Nations’ Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) and other international organisations. Panama has recently become the 59th State to take advantage of the PKD’s encrypted validation, which maximises the benefits of ePassport security, but Dr. Liu stressed that ICAO expects to see greater buy-in the months ahead.

“Although more than 80 per cent of the ePassports in global circulation are issued by States already participating in the PKD, many are still not taking advantage of it to authenticate the chip-based data,” she reiterated.

The 2017 TRIP Symposium was centred around the theme of “Making Air Travel more Secure and Efficient”, reflecting the fact that well-designed security technologies also support the improvement of the passenger experience and the efficiency of facilitation processes more generally.

“It is only by ensuring both of these priorities in a balanced way that our proposed solutions will be truly sustainable,” Dr. Liu concluded.

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