Workshop on enhancing capacities of West African Member States in the domain of customs, border control and arms trafficking and counter-terrorism

From 17 to 19 March 2010, the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) co-organized with the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) a workshop for West African Member States on “enhancing capacities of West African Member States in the domain of customs, border control and arms trafficking and counterterrorism”.

The workshop was co-sponsored by the Governments of Germany and Italy.

This workshop was a follow-up to the informal forum for representatives of West African Member States and donor countries and organizations, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 11 July 2007. That forum resulted in identifying common technical assistance needs for West African Member States in the following priority fields: legal, financial law and practice, law enforcement and border control. The workshop comes as a second in the series of which the first one was on law enforcement on 15th and 16th of June 2009 at the ACSRT

CTED & ACSRT partnered together, and through the facilitation of CTED, ACSRT the latter held this works in its premises where the following themes were discussed: threats to border control, challenges in protection the long land and maritime borders; the relevant international best codes and practices in protecting the border and the roles of all stakeholders in that process.

The workshop was attended by operational-level officers from relevant agencies in West African States, had a frank, open exchange of views which enabled them discuss the day–to-day challenges they face in managing their borders; in particular the need to take additional, more concrete steps to protect their borders, to combat terrorism and transnational crime. Experts from donor countries also participated, as well as relevant regional organization and offices of international organizations, in addition to the participation of Civil society and academia.

The workshop provided a great opportunity to participating experts to exchange information on current trends and terrorist activities; identify a number of success stories based on the measures and mechanisms they have put in place in accordance with their already existing capacities; identifying collectively common threats and challenges to their border security; and raising awareness on the available solutions among available national and regional capacities and at the international community.