Border security and management

“Terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters use a wide variety of techniques to travel to destinations all over the world. With the number of international travelers continuing to increase, it is essential that we develop efficient counter-terrorism measures that facilitates rapid, efficient and secure processing at our borders.”

-- Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism

Improving border security and management

Through its Border Security and Management (BSM) Programme, UNCCT aims to strengthen Member States’ capacities to prevent the cross-border movement of terrorists and stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs).

In January 2019 UNCCT launched its comprehensive new global programme which allows the Centre to provide on-going border management and counter-terrorism expertise to Member States. The programme framework outlines the development and implementation of a broad range of underlying thematic capacity building projects over the next five years that will support States in addressing identified gaps in border management. This includes increasing awareness of the importance of responsible sharing of data related to biometrics to counter terrorism and strengthening capabilities related to other cross-border communication technologies, while accounting for the complex nature of the border environment which encompasses multiple modes of travel.

Mandate of the Programme 

Ensuring effective border security and management is essential for preventing and countering the flow of suspected terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) across land, air, and maritime borders, as well as the cross-border movement of licit and illicit cargo, including drugs, weapons, arms, and munitions that may be used for terrorist purposes.

Despite enhanced measures taken by Member States in recent years to strengthen border security, particularly in light of the evolving FTF phenomenon, capacities in this area vary widely and gaps continue to exist in the collection, use and sharing of passenger data, effective control of identity papers and travel documents, border screening processes, use of technical equipment and trained border personnel, and coordinated border management. To respond to the gaps, UNCCT supports Member States and regional organizations in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant Security Council resolutions, such as 1373 (2001), 1540 (2004), 2178 (2014), 2309 (2016), 2396 (2017), and 2482 (2019) through the provision of tailored technical assistance on border security and management good practices, inter-agency and cross-border cooperation, information sharing, and border- management strategies and action plans, among other issues.

Programme’s activities  

Key deliverables and ongoing projects of the BSM Programme include:  

Programme’s coordination role 

UNCCT’s BSM Programme is intended to be flexible in nature to allow for close coordination and the ability to build upon existing efforts of key UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact partner entities, regional and/or sub-regional bodies, as well as to address the ever-changing threat landscape, and most critically, to meet the evolving needs and requirements of Member States. UNCCT works closely with UNODC, IOM, WCO, IMO, INTERPOL and others in implementing the Programme. UNCCT also coordinates closely with CTED, drawing on assessments and recommendations related to border management.

Programme’s impact 

Projected Outcomes of UNCCT’s Border Security and Management Programme include:

  • Assisted Member States and regional bodies have enhanced awareness and understanding of established ‘Good Practices’ in the area of BSM as they relate to stemming the flow of FTFs across borders and have incorporated them within their national border Management strategies and action plans. 
  • Assisted Member States have enhanced awareness of good practices in all modes of cross-border transportation: land, air, sea and rail and related risk assessment and identification technologies.
  • Assisted Member States have increased awareness and understanding of Advance Passenger Information (API) systems as a tool for enhancing BSM and stemming the flow of FTFs.
  • Assisted Member States have improved institutional training on BSM as it relates to counter-terrorism and stemming the flow of FTFs.
  • Assisted Member States’ border authorities have acquired technical knowledge and practical skills to utilize cutting-edge communication technologies and equipment for stemming the flow of FTFs.


Programmatic Activities and Achievements in 2019-2020: 

  • While the UNCCT BSM Programme is global in scope, implementation in 2019 and 2020 has focused on high priority regions where both the threat of terrorism and needs of Member States are most acute. In this regard, specialized training activities which aimed to enhance national and regional border management capacities and strengthen inter-agency and cross-border cooperation were delivered in the following key regions: East Africa, West Africa-Sahel, South East Asia, Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).  
  • Under the framework of the BSM Programme, UNCCT worked with the UNODC global AIRCOP project to build the capacity of Member States in addressing threats to international air travel posed by FTFs, including returnees and relocators, and other potential terrorist threats, thus contributing to enhanced border security and management within the targeted regions. 
  • At the request of Member States, comprehensive consultations were held with a broad range of national governmental and law enforcement authorities to provide guidance and support towards the inclusion of counter-terrorism elements within the Member States’ national border management strategies. 
  • Under the framework of the BSM Programme, UNCCT also coordinated with CTED to deliver activities for increasing and strengthening awareness, knowledge and capacity of Member States to use and share biometric data in a responsible manner to enhance border security and counter terrorism. For further information please visit:  

UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

The UN General Assembly adopted by consensus the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on 8 September 2006. The strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism. The General Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to Member States’ counter-terrorism priorities.

UNCCT 2019 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report on the Fourth Year of the UNCCT 5-Year Programme

The "2019 Annual Report on the Fourth Year of the UNCCT 5-Year Programme" provides a comprehensive overview of all UN Counter Terrorism Centre's Programmes and Projects implemented in 2019, including their substantive and financial performance.

Previous Annual reports: [2018]  [2017]