14 May 2020 – Three years ago, the United Nations estimated that over 40,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 110 countries may have travelled to join terrorist groups in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.
In response, the UN Security Council adopted resolutions 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017) and 2482 (2019), making it mandatory for all Member States to collect, share and analyse advance passenger information (API) and passenger name record (PNR) data in order to identify, detect and intercept foreign terrorist fighters and serious criminals as they attempt to travel across borders.
To assist Member States in meeting their obligations under these resolutions, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) joined the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme; a global “All-of-UN” initiative led by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) in partnership with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) and the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).
Since becoming a partner of the Programme in 2019, CTED has led five “All-of-UN” deep-dive missions in Ghana, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Togo. The deep-dives are aimed at assessing the current readiness and capacity of States to implement and use API and PNR. Following each deep-dive, CTED, in co-operation with the Programme partners, has developed an API/PNR implementation “Roadmap” for the State, which is a document that sets out all steps needed to implement API and PNR accompanied by tailored recommendations on how the State can implement each of these steps.
Although UN Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017) and 2482 (2019) have placed a legal impetus on all Member States to implement API and PNR, so far only 86 have implemented API, which is less than half of all UN Member States, and only 48 have implemented PNR, which is just under one quarter of all UN Member States.
While CTED remains committed to continuing its assistance to Member States in their efforts to meet their obligations in relation to API and PNR, and to positively contribute to the efforts of the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, it must be emphasised that the successful implementation of API and PNR, and the ability to stem the movement of foreign terrorist fighters, requires solid international cooperation and commitment from all Member States.