Supporting Togo in safeguarding vulnerable targets against terrorist attacks

The Global Programme on Countering Terrorist Threats against Vulnerable Targets concluded its first technical assistance activity to support the Government of Togo in strengthening the protection of vulnerable targets against terrorist attacks. The event was co-organized by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad, along with programme partners the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and took place in Lomé from 27 to 29 June 2022.

Capacity-building activity

Following the in-depth consultations held in Lomé in March 2022, UNOCT held a three-day workshop to present Togo’s National Plan of Action on vulnerable targets protection which had previously been developed by UNOCT and CTED in partnership with UNOAC and UNICRI. In line with the recommendations of this National Plan of Action, the first technical assistance activity addressed legislative and regulatory aspects to protect ‘soft’ targets and critical infrastructures.

Organized in a hybrid format, the workshop was opened by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad and the Representative of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Togo. The event brought together more than 35 participants from 15 Togolese ministries and institutions led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Experts from Belgium, France and the United States of America, as well as CTED, UNAOC, UNICRI, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and civil society organizations such as Enhancing Faith Institutions and NorthPoint Ltd., shared their good practices and insightful recommendations. Experts from the relevant UNOCT/UNCCT units, including on political affairs, threats posed by cyber, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, cyber security, and terrorist use of automated remotely operated systems (AROS), also contributed to the discussion.

On 27 June, the Government of Togo, UNOCT and CTED formally launched the national roadmap and discussed recommendations for further strengthening the protection of vulnerable targets in Togo across three major pillars:

  1. legislative and regulatory framework
  2. institutional architecture, and
  3. operational and technical readiness

The Togolese representatives provided an overview of the security situation in Togo and the national terrorist trends and threats and discussed the main challenges in the protection of critical infrastructure and “soft” targets.

On 28 and 29 June, the sessions focused on the international legal framework against terrorism and the legislative and regulatory aspects of vulnerable targets protection, and saw interactive discussions on defining, classification and prioritization of critical infrastructure and “soft” targets. Experts delivered presentations on existing international good practices, strategies, architectures, tools, case studies, and provided recommendations to improve Togo’s frameworks.

Togolese participants expressed their full support to the Global Vulnerable Targets Programme and committed to implementing the roadmap with the support of UNOCT. The next capacity-building activity for Togo under the Programme will take place in the second half of 2022.

The Global Vulnerable Targets Programme is funded by the State of Qatar and co-implemented by UNOCT, CTED, UNAOC and UNICRI, in consultation with INTERPOL. The programme seeks to strengthen the capacity of Member States, upon request, to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks against their vulnerable targets. The programme mandate covers both critical infrastructure and “soft” targets, including tourist venues, urban centres and public events, religious sites and places of worship.