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New UN Passenger Data Agreement Aims to Curb Terrorist Mobility

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) have formalized a new Memorandum of Agreement, aimed at building member state capacity to prevent, detect and investigate terrorist offenses and other serious crimes through the collection and analysing of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. 

The new program follows an ‘All-of-UN’ approach, jointly led by UNOCT and implemented in partnership with ICAO, the Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Office of Information and Communication Technology, and INTERPOL. 

“This new agreement and funding will be critical to ICAO’s efforts to collaborate with the relevant program partners and enhance countries’ awareness of how passenger data can help to detect the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) and other serious criminals, as required under UN Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017) and 2482 (2019),” highlighted ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.

“Moving forward,” Dr. Liu continued, “we will be helping member states to have a fuller understanding of their international obligations under the related new amendments to Annex 9 (Facilitation) to the Chicago Convention, and to resolve any conflicts of law that inhibit the international transfer and processing of PNR data with full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“We will also assist them in establishing a suitable legislative framework to regulate the collection, transmission, use, retention and sharing of passenger data, in compliance with internationally recognized standards on API, and based upon a universal legal standard that supports the responsible collection, use, processing and protection of PNR data.” 

The new UNOCT-ICAO agreement came into effect on August 31, and will guide the related program efforts through August 2022. 

The ICAO Council adopted the related Amendment to Annex 9 of the Chicago Convention at its 220th Session earlier this year. Amendment 28 will become effective in October 2020 and applicable in February 2021.

Read the announcement at ICAO

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