Terrorism poses a direct threat to APEC's vision of secure, open and prosperous economies.

APEC Leaders have pledged to help secure the region's people and its economic, trade, investment and financial systems from terrorist attack or abuse and trade-based money laundering. Their commitments to undertake individual and joint actions to counter terrorism are expressed in two principle statements - the 2001 APEC Leaders Statement on Counter-Terrorism and the 2002 Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth - and in every subsequent annual Leaders' Declaration.

Bearing in mind Leaders' instructions to monitor progress and build capacity in counter-terrorism, the APEC Counter-Terrorism Task Force was established in May 2003 to:

  • Coordinate the implementation of Leaders' Statements and commitments on fighting terrorism and enhancing human security
  • Assist members to identify and assess counter-terrorism needs
  • Coordinate capacity building and technical assistance programs
  • Cooperate with relevant international and regional organisations
  • Facilitate cooperation between APEC fora on counter-terrorism issues.

In July 2013, recognising that threat of terrorism has a long-lasting nature and the CTTF’s valuable and constructive role in helping to protect the economic systems in the region from disruption; APEC Senior Officials endorsed the proposal to upgrade the task force into a working group. The Counter Terrorism Working Group first mandate is for 2013-2017 in accordance with its strategic plan.

APEC Leaders also emphasize the important role played by the UN and its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and have stressed the need for implementation, where applicable, of UN counter-terrorism measures and the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing.

Current Chair (2015-2016) is Mr Oscar Valenzuela (the Philippines).

Current Activities

CTWG is working on a range of activities, including the development and implementation of APEC’s first Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy CT/ST, which was endorsed by APEC Ministers in 2011. This Strategy identified three fundamental pillars – security, efficiency, and resilience – that will underpin APEC’s counter-terrorism and secure trade efforts over at least the next five years.

CTWG is also actively involved in the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative (TFI) endorsed by the APEC Leaders in 2011 to expedite the movement of travellers across the Asia-Pacific region, The TFI encompasses six components: the Airport Partnership Program (APP), the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC), the Trusted Traveller Program (TTP), Air Passenger Security Screening, Advance Passenger Information (API), and Checked Baggage Facilitation.  Other four APEC sub-fora are involved in the work of this cross-cutting initiative: the Business Mobility Group (BMG), the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), the Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) and the Tourism Working Group (TWG).

On 22-23 February 2016 in the margins of SOM1-2016, in Lima, Peru, the CTWG held its 7th meeting where the group endorsed the CTWG 2016 Work Plan, which reiterated CTWG’s continuous commitment to work in line with the CTWG mission as well as APEC’s 2016 theme of “Quality Growth and Human Development” through the following:

  • Continue implementation of the CTWG Strategic Plan 2013-2017;
  • Continue implementation of the APEC Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy;
  • Increase cooperation among APEC economies to address the evolution of terrorist threats and the growth of violent extremism, and to promote the security and resilience of businesses and communities;
  • Conduct activities related to human and institutional capacity building, empirical research, and collaboration training in countering violent extremism, secure trade and travel, in close cooperation and coordination with relevant APEC sub-fora;
  • Advance programs that will strengthen economies cooperation and collaboration in countering violent extremism, preventing foreign terrorist fighter travel, countering the financing of terrorism, and promoting exchange of information regarding actions/movements of suspected terrorist organizations and individuals;
  • Increase cooperation among economies through exchange of best practices in countering terrorism in particular those that support APEC Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy;
  • Increase cooperation and technical assistance among economies in their effort to implement the Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) programs.

The next CTWG meeting is scheduled to be held in August 2016 during the third APEC Senior Officials' Meeting in Lima, Peru. 

On-going/Proposed Projects and Initiatives

Secure Travel

The United States conducted the CTWG Secure Travel Workshop on “Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters Travel” that took place on 30-31 August 2015 in Cebu.  The workshop highlighted the threat that FTFs and their travel poses to the Asia Pacific Region, and explained why Advance Passenger Information (API) Systems are effective in helping to mitigate that threat. The workshop also emphasized the need for inter-agency cooperation in implementing API systems; Imperative of international cooperation; and Information sharing for API to be effective, and addressed other airport screening that improves security as well as effective security procedures in land and maritime borders.

Trusted Traveler and Advance Passenger Information Systems

CTWG is also working on two joint projects with the Business Mobility Group (BMG) and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) to develop trusted traveller characteristics and to develop best practices on implementing Advance Passenger Information Systems. By receiving passenger information in advance of travel, APEC economies could expedite the processing of legitimate travellers through ports of entry and focus on those requiring additional scrutiny. The Trusted Traveller project is aimed at developing consensus on traveller characteristics that should form the basis of trusted traveller programs. The second project is focused on developing a lessons learned document on the challenges economies face in implementing Advanced Passenger Information systems.

Secure Finance

The United States conducted the CTWG Secure Finance Workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism with New Payment Systems (NPS) that was held on 30-31 January 2015 in Clark, which provided to working-level financial crimes policy and operational representatives from APEC economies the opportunity to engage and help develop or reinforce the capacities to promote the legal and transparent use of NPS and to effectively counter the illicit uses of NPS. The workshop included a description of NPS and methods, how they work, the outsourcing and segmentation of NPS services, global trends in NPS, and briefings on the experiences of APEC economies with NPS.  Also, the workshop participants discussed the threat finance and crime nexus, FATF guidelines, developing prosecutorial and law enforcement foundational infrastructures, and how AML/CFT safeguards, financial inclusion, and economic growth are mutually reinforcing goals and objectives. 

Secure Supply Chains

The US-funded joint Trade Recovery Project, with the Transportation Working Group and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, has its background in the 2006 Leader’s Declaration that identified the importance of trade recovery from terrorism or major natural disasters. The goal of trade recovery is to resume supply chain and trade operations as quickly and efficiently as possible after a major incident. The project is being developed in coordination with the World Customs Organization and is focused on establishing an information sharing platform system.

Source: Report on the APEC Trade Recovery Programme Pilot Exercise (2010)

Secure Infrastructure

Major Events Security Framework Workshop APEC MESF.

CTWG, led by Canada, is developing a Major Events Security Framework that provides APEC economies with common practices and standards to successfully plan, execute and close-out major event security such as high profile events like the Olympics or the World Cup. Canadian experts developed the initial content for the framework.  They then worked with experts from APEC economies, over the course of two workshops, one in Malaysia (June 2013) and one in Chile (October 2013), to review, pilot and finalize the content.  Once complete, all APEC economies will have access to the framework via secure link to the web portal. There is a large gap between economies with respect to common practices and standards for major event security: some are very advanced, with domestic protocols in place to address various facets of project planning to close-out, while others had never had the opportunity to develop this expertise domestically. 

Prior to 7th CTWG in Lima, Peru, as part of the APEC MESF capacity building, Major Event and Security Framework Workshop was held on 20-21 February 2016. During the workshop economies have the opportunity to provide information on major event planning, to share lessons learned among economies with regard to security planning for major events and to develop experience in conducting threat and risk assessments and development of Concept of Operations for major event security.

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

This new project, self-funded by the United States, will work on ensuring the security of critical infrastructure required for an economy to function such as power, water, transportation and communications. The project will reduce risks to critical infrastructure caused by attacks, accidents and natural disasters as well as ensure operations can be resumed quickly.

A two day Workshop on Enhancing Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience in the Asia Pacific Region was held on 16-17 October 2014 in Chinese Taipei.

Secure Finance Workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism with New Payment Systems

This new project, also self-funded by the United States, will address the rising concern of new payments systems to finance terrorism, such as mobile phones, internet and electronic value cards. Many of these new payment systems and technologies have yet to be regulated by governments. As a result, these financial transactions fall outside the existing financial regulatory system and can be easily used for terrorist financing.

A workshop on Secure Finance on Countering the Financing of Terrorism with New Payment System was held on 29-30 January 2015, in Subic Bay, Philippines, in the margins of SOM 1-2015.

Achievements

Three main goals for the CTWG going forward: to ensure robust capacity building work is carried out in each of the Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy’s four cross-cutting activity areas; to continue to improve the CTAP process and summary report to maximize its relevance to the CTTF’s work; and to continue to support a coordination role on APEC secure trade issues across APEC sub-fora and maintain engagement with relevant international organizations.

CTWG will continue implementing the Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy, as well as the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative.

CTWG has been working closely with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization.

Counter Terrorism Action Plans

Counter Terrorism Action Plans (CTAP) were developed in 2003 as a tool for tracking the progress of economies in implementing Leaders' directions on APEC's security and counter-terrorism related work program, and for identifying the capacity building assistance required by member economies to implement these measures.

CTAP is becoming one of the main reporting mechanism in CTWG, submitted by each economy on counter-terrorism measures undertaken by an APEC member economy to achieve the key elements of the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) initiative. The information is collected annually in a summary report that can be used by economies to assist in identifying suitable projects at the beginning of each APEC year. 

APEC Secretariat submitted the consolidated Summary CTAP Report during the 4th CTWG meeting that took place in the margins of SOM 1, 2015.  During the 5th CTWG meeting (SOM2, 2015), members agreed in submitting the CTAP updates every two years.  Next CTWG CTAP submission should be previous the SOM3 2016.

Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR)

One of APEC's key counter-terrorism priorities is the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) initiative, which aims to secure and enhance the flow of goods and people through measures that protect cargo, ships, international aviation and people in transit. STAR programs are designed to include the private sector, in recognition of the fact that the engagement and active participation of business is fundamental to the success of APEC's secure trade agenda. Annual APEC STAR Conference have been organised since 2003. The conferences bring executives and government officials together to identify impediments to and solutions for promoting trade efficiency while ensuring security.

Contacts

Oscar Fader Valenzuela (Mr)

Acting Executive Director
Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center (ATC-PMC)
The Philippines
Email: ocafvalenzuela@gmail.com
Kartika HANDARUNINGRUM (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
Email: kh@apec.org

News

APEC Bolstering Terrorism Defenses
APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group Meeting
8th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials' Meeting
Disaster-prone APEC economies step up risk-reduction
APEC boosting transportation security
APEC strengthens its efforts against terrorist financing
Boost for APEC’s battle against terrorist financing
Air travel in APEC region requires low cost safeguards
APEC reducing supply chain vulnerabilities to accelerate growth
Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) Meeting
Risk-based measures key to mitigating bus terrorism
7th APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting
APEC Economies coordinate efforts to counter terrorist efforts
APEC Peru 2008: Outcomes
What APEC is Doing to Promote Capacity Building?
STAR VI Conference
APEC Economies Bolster Anti-Terrorism Measures
APEC to Conduct Regional Emergency Alert Exercise
Maritime Transportation and Port Security for the Asia-Pacific Region
Managing the Risks to Trade
New Counter-Terrorism Chair seeks to increase Targeting of Initiatives
APEC Prepares for Threat to the Global Food Supply
APEC Senior Officials Conclude Meeting in Preparation for APEC Ministers' and Leaders' Meetings
APEC to Increase Protection of Food Supply from Terrorist Attack
Total Supply Chain Security in the APEC Region
APEC Encourages Public-Private Partnerships to Secure Trade
Challenges for Counter-Terrorism at APEC
Economic, Health and Security Risks of Unsecured Radioactive Sources Outlined by Metal Recycling Expert
Enhancing Aviation and Maritime Security - APEC STAR III Conference
Towards One Community: SOM Chair' Perspective on APEC Progress in 2005
Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change
Human Skills Should not take Backseat to Technology in Dealing with Terrorism: View of STAR Conference
Webcast of STAR Conference Speeches
3rd APEC Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Conference
Audio Webcast of Counter Terrorism Task Force Welcoming Remarks
ISPS Code Compliance Requires Greater Information Sharing - Maritime Security Recommendation from APEC Conference
Stronger Measures Called for to Prevent Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
Regulation of Surface to Air Missiles Essential for Regional Air Transport Security
Recommendation for Greater Capacity Building Assistance for Developing Economies to Increase Biometric Checks at Airports
APEC's Counter Terrorism Strategy
Balancing Trade and Security through Increased Cooperation within the Asia Pacific Region
Chile Defense Minister Calls for Closer APEC Security Cooperation with International Organizations
Counter-Terrorism Needs of Business and Government to be Addressed at STAR Conference
APEC Counter Terrorism Strategy Presented to Interpol Conference
APEC's Strategy to Support International Law Enforcement Cooperation to Counter Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific Region
Strengthening Security Against Bio-Terrorist Attack and Disease Outbreaks
APEC Counter Terrorism Action Plan Combined Report Endorsed
Innovative Counter Terrorism Measures: Canada-US Smart Border Agreement Showcased at APEC Smart Border Symposium in Vancouver
New APEC Resources to Protect Private Businesses from Terrorist and Criminal Attacks Now Available Online
APEC Targets Terrorism through Expanded International Partnerships
New APEC Counter Terrorism Task Force Work Program
Increasing Air and Sea Port Security Against Terrorist Threats Also Offers Cost Savings to Business
APEC Welcomes Australia's Support to Strengthen Regional Security
APEC Calls for Govenment and Business Partnerships to Counter Terrorism
Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Organisations in strengthening global counter-terrorism capacity
Study on the Costs of Terrorism: Urges Counter Terrorism Measures be Viewed as an Investment in the Future
APEC Counter-Terrorism Implementation Report Presented To Leaders In Mexico
APEC Leaders Issue Counter-Terrorism Statements
APEC Counter-terrorism Implementation Report to be presented to Leaders

Events

21 Aug 2016 Counter-Terrorism Working Group Meeting Lima, Peru
20 Aug 2016 Counter-Terrorism Working Group Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Conference Lima, Peru
18 Aug 2016 Counter-Terrorism Working Group Workshop on APEC Secure Travel Follow- on for Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighter Travel Lima, Peru
22 Feb 2016 Counter-Terrorism Working Group Meeting Lima, Peru
20 Feb 2016 Major Events Security Framework Workshop Lima, Peru