Workshop on Strengthening Border-Related Counter-Terrorism Capacities in the Sahel and the Maghreb through International Databases and Enhanced Cooperation, Coordination and Information Exchange

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From 3 to 5 March 2014, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT/CAERT), and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) jointly organized, at ACSRT’s Headquarters in Algiers, a workshop for the Sahel and Maghreb Member States, on “Strengthening Border Related Counter Terrorism Capacities in the Sahel and the Maghreb through International Databases and Enhanced Cooperation, Coordination and Information Exchange”.

This workshop is an effort by the United Nations and the African Union to strengthen the counter terrorism capacity of the AU Sahel and Maghreb Countries by providing them with technical tools for the exploitation of international databases, securing identity and travel documents, Strengthening immigration controls and people processing, reinforcing cash-courier controls, improving aviation and cargo security, improving maritime security, strengthening the control of illegal movement of small arms and light weapons and strengthening States’ capacities to collect, analyze and use information.

Participants to the workshop were customs, immigration and intelligence officials drawn from eleven (11) AU Sahelo – Saharan Countries namely Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. They were trained by experts from INTERPOL, International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Customs Organization (WCO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the ACSRT. The experts were committed to make the participants retain the maximum amount of information and knowledge. Experts focus was on the development of real skills and capacity to identify practical solutions that meet participants’ real day to day needs at their workplace.

The training program was interactive and hands-on. It provided practical and useful information which can be immediately applied in any scenario.
Throughout the practical exercises training, participants were reasonably able to use INTERPOL and its tools such as: (I-24/7), MIND and FIND, Role of NCBs, CT Focal Points network, Baobab and Main INTERPOL databases.
They also acquired knowledge about the International Organization for Migration (IOM) methodology on verification and control of cross border movements.
They built skills and attitudes necessary to competently manage the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) to be used in the area of risk management and targeting.
They developed awareness of principles of coordination and informal information sharing as well as principles and functions of the local coordinating committees (airports, ports and lands).

They became acquainted with the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) tools such as CEN as well as the Role and functions of RILO (Regional Intelligence Liaison Office) and their national liaison offices .
Participants realized many issues related to border control cannot be solved by one country alone. In this regard, the workshop was an eye opener as it demonstrated to participants the absolute need for inter-state and inter agency cooperation, coordination and information exchange. Issues such as fighting insurgency, terrorism, and transnational crime require cooperation from all nations.

The workshop allowed the participants to master useful steps to improve border control and enhanced bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Ambassador Madeira commended the participants, experts and resource persons for the demonstration of exceptionally high standard of knowledge in their respective areas of expertise.