SESSION II - Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Organisations in strengthening global counter-terrorism capacity
Objectives: Clarify the potential role for regional and sub-regional organisations, and their interaction with international organisations.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today to provide you with an update of APEC's agenda, especially the role that APEC can play in encouraging its member economies to meet international standard to counter terrorism.
Before I do that, let me tell you that APEC or Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum that promotes trade and investment among its 21 member economies. Its members include Thailand, the United States, Mexico, China, for example. Our members work on issues ranging from agriculture to telecommunications and our Leaders meet informally every October.
Following the tragic events of September 11, on October 21, 2001, APEC Leaders issued the Statement on Fighting Terrorism. In that statement, which gives political momentum to the counter terrorism issues, APEC Leaders committed to actions to support the global fight against terrorism, including commitments to prevent and suppress all forms of terrorist acts in the future, to faithfully and immediately implement the UN Security Council Resolutions 1368 and 1373, and to support all efforts to strengthen the international anti-terrorism regime.
This commitment was reinforced last October, a month after the terrorist bombing in Bali and terrorist attacks in other APEC economies. In Los Cabos, Mexico, APEC Leaders issued their 2002 Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth. The Statement committed member economies to further measures to combat terrorism and to a specific timetable for their adoption in three areas: securing the movement of goods and people, halting financial flows to terrorists, and promoting cybersecurity. These initiatives are detailed in the thick document, page 58, and I will not repeat them today.
APEC represents 60 percent of the world's GDP and half of its trade. Most of the world's top megaports are in APEC economies, as are most of the world's busiest airports.
To protect this critical infrastructure, APEC Leaders agreed to work together to secure the flow of goods and people in the region.
Since last October APEC has taken a number of steps to speed up the implementation of these commitments, to monitor their progress and to build the capacity of member economies to respond to the threat of terrorism.
Counter Terrorism Action Plan
Last month, APEC Senior Officials endorsed a Counter Terrorism Action Plan to facilitate the implementation of the measures contained in the Leaders' Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth. The Action Plan lists specific objectives and expected outputs by economies to secure cargoes, to protect people in transit, to secure ships engaged in international voyages and international aviation, to halt the financing of terrorism; to enhance cyber security; to secure energy supplies and to protect the health of our communities.
The Action Plan recognizes that capacity building and the assessment of needs are essential to its successful implementation. It encourages all APEC members to both identify their capacity building needs and outline what assistance they can offer in the area of capacity building.
Counter Terrorism Task Force
On your question 5, what structures are needed to promote an affective practical discussion of counter terrorism issues, APEC Senior Officials have established a Counter-Terrorism Task Force.
The Counter Terrorism Task Force will:
- Co-ordinate the implementation of the Leaders' Statement on Fighting Terrorism;
- Assist economies to assess their counter-terrorism needs;
- Co-ordinate regional and bilateral capacity building and technical assistance programs, including through consultations with international financial institutions;
- Cooperation with other international organisations such as the IMO, the WCO and ICACO, to implement the Counter Terrorism Action Plan; and
- Facilitate cooperation between APEC's Working Groups and Committees on counter-terrorism issues.
On your question 6, how the CTC can support the activities of APEC, I would say the CTC can share information and best practices with Regional Organizations. I also notice that the CTC has web site on counter terrorism. I wonder whether the CTC could consider linking its site to the APEC web site. APEC has a lot of information on counter terrorism that can be shared with other regional organisations. Let me also inform you that we have a contact point on counter terrorism in the APEC Secretariat and his name is on page 61 of the document.
Secure Trade in the APEC Region Conference
In Los Cabos last October, APEC Leaders agreed to a package of measures designed to strengthen security against the terrorist threat while simultaneously boosting trade efficiency. An important aspect of this was to ensure that increased security measures added efficiency to trading and travelling across borders.
To implement this goal, two weeks ago, APEC brought together key players from a broad range of official agencies and leading companies to participate in the Secure Trade in the APEC Region or STAR Conference. Co-hosted by the United States and Thailand, this conference highlighted a range of programs to facilitate the secure movement of goods and people in the APEC region.
One of the major points of agreement among presenters and delegates at the conference was that STAR requires new partnerships between government and business. Co-ordination between public and private entities at the national and international level was also necessary to counteract terrorist or criminal threats throughout the supply chain.
Capacity building, in particular the need to strengthen the institutional capacity of governments, was cited as being important to the success of the program. APEC is taking steps to ensure that the needs of developing economies to implement STAR are met with targeted technical cooperation assistance.