Fighting Terror and Making Travel Safer: IOM-sponsored Event in Azerbaijan
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As a country located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Azerbaijan is striving to become a transportation hub connecting Europe and Asia. An important step in this direction is the introduction of systems which provide the government with advanced data on passengers and cargo to conduct pre-clearance, facilitating public security as well as travel.
Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) systems make travel safer and easier for all. To assist the Government in establishing such systems in a coordinated and collaborative manner, IOM, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the UK Border Force held a series of joint events last week in Baku.
The workshop held on 5-7 February, was attended by 25 participants from various government agencies and companies such as the State Border Service, State Customs Committee, State Migration Service, State Security Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, ASAN Visa Service, AZAL State Airline company, and others, who are leading actors in international relations, border security, law enforcement and migration management in the country.
Vladimir Gjorgjiev, Chief of IOM’s Mission to Azerbaijan noted ”API/PNR implementation is a long-term effort, so I am glad that IOM, UNOCT and UK Border Force were able to combine their respective resources into a joint initiative for the first time ever.”
Simon Deignan, Programme Management Officer with UNOCT said that the workshop gave representatives of local agencies an opportunity to learn about the benefits of passenger data for law enforcement, border security, customs, and intelligence: “This workshop supports Azerbaijan government in implementing the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, and adopting the goTravel analysis system to counter terrorism and serious crime.”
Jane Woolley of the UK Border Force, stated it was a “fantastic opportunity” to understand the cross-government needs of Azerbaijan in relation to API/PNR and welcomed the opportunity to work interested parties from across all agencies.
For the Government of Azerbaijan, Major-General Javad Gasimov noted that the event would enhance the capacity of officials of relevant government agencies, allowing them to share experience in risk management, exchange views on border security, and cooperate on implementing modern technology.
The event was held under the auspices of the project “Enhancing Passenger Processing Capacities in Azerbaijan in Line with International Best Practices and Standards”, financed by the IOM Development Fund.