Aviation market ups anti-terror efforts as passenger numbers increase

As the world emerges from the travel restrictions imposed during the COVID pandemic the United Nations has announced a wide ranging new agreement on strategies to combat the potential of terrorism involving the world’s skies.

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have signed an Arrangement on Cooperation (AoC) to strengthen cooperation and advance their joint initiatives to counter terrorism. The signing of the AoC took place during an in-person ceremony between Under-Secretary-General of UNOCT Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, and Secretary-General of ICAO Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar.

UNOCT and ICAO are already partners in the United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, which also includes the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

UNOCT and ICAO said the agreement reaffirms their full commitment to the flagship initiative’s global efforts to support its 193 member states in enhancing their capacity to detect and prevent the movement of terrorists using both Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. The Programme also promotes regional cooperation through enhanced information exchange and sharing of lessons learned and good practices.

“This Arrangement on Cooperation exemplifies the ‘All-of-UN’ approach to supporting Member States in the implementation of critical counter-terrorism projects. It further strengthens the exchange of information between the two partners and harnesses each other’s expertise to optimize the impact of capacity-building efforts in countering terrorist travel and protecting civil aviation and critical infrastructure,” Voronkov said.

Within the framework of the cooperative agreement, UNOCT and ICAO agreed to cooperate on joint capacity-building activities aimed at strengthening Member States’ capacities to further enhance the security of civil aviation and critical national infrastructure. They also agreed to provide joint support towards the implementation of initiatives developed within the framework of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Working Groups.

Highlighting ICAO’s commitment to continue the strong partnership with UNOCT in the implementation of the UN Global CT Strategy, Salazar added that “through this renewed cooperation, ICAO and UNOCT aim to maximize support to Member States in a variety of areas of common focus, starting with the Counter Terrorist Travel Programme and extending to initiatives pertaining to Threat Assessment Models Programme, unmanned aircraft systems (drones) and cybersecurity”.

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism’s (UNOCT) Countering Terrorist Travel Section said the aim was to support member states in enhancing their capabilities to secure global travel against terrorist threats and comprises two Programmes:  The United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme (CTTP), and the United Nations Programme on Threat Assessment Models for Aviation Security (TAM Programme). The TAM Programme supports global counter-terrorism efforts by providing technical assistance and capacity-building to Member States to enhance national information sharing mechanisms to support threat assessment and risk-based decision-making, as called for by Security Council resolution 2309 (2016) and in line with the United Nations General Assembly’s call in its 2021 review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy for a secure global civil aviation system.

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