APEC Economies Bolster Anti-Terrorism Measures
Lima, Peru, 17 August 2008
As individual economies implement their individual Counter-Terrorism Action Plans, needs for capacity building are identified and out of these needs, future activities directed. In accord with a previous agreement in APEC's Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF), those needs are shared in the forum where they may be used to develop future counter-terrorism capacity building initiatives to be considered and potentially endorsed at future meetings.
To date, the Annual Summary Report on APEC Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Needs in APEC Economies has been a valuable source of information sharing among members, who are able both to receive assistance from others donors as well as spot areas to which they might contribute.
This morning, Russia expressed its own willingness to share its expertise: "Russia has experience in information security," explained Sergey Belousko, from the Department on New Challenges and Threats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia. "We are prepared to share this experience with APEC. This might mean a workshop in combating cyber crime or other capacity building exercises."
Workshops and seminars in which economies can exchange experiences serve as a source of information. In some cases, best practices are adopted by numerous economies and become a way of streamlining processes between them.
Australia, New Zealand and the United States have employed the Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS), allowing them to exchange the most up-to-date traveller information almost instantly. This enables greater traveller protection and swifter movement across borders. Chinese Taipei has announced plans to join the RMAS and, according to Lin-wu Kuo, Director of Chinese Taipei?s Office of Homeland Security, Counter Terrorism Office.
After hosting a workshop in which shipping industry experts agreed that a terrorist threat to global supply chains is "a matter of when ? not if", Singapore has taken the lead in a pilot exercise, enlisting several APEC member economies to recreate a scenario in which trade supply chains have been disrupted. The exercise will be carried out in 2009 and will test simulated Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), based on principles of trust, transparency and communication. The exercise will further develop the implementation of the APEC Trade Recovery Programme and the MRAs could be considered for permanent adoption.
Addressing the CTTF today, Saifudin Hamjuri SAMSURI, International Economics Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted the potential of MRAs to facilitate trade flow among APEC economies.
Specific areas being considered in this year's Summary of Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Needs includes the protection of cargo, ships engaged in international voyages, international aviation, people in transit as well as ways to combat threats to security, terrorist financing and cyber security.
The Counter-Terrorism Action Plans are a useful tool that provide an opportunity for APEC member economies to take stock of their efforts, to respond to Leaders and Ministers' directions and to highlight capacity-building needs to implement these commitments.