Countering terrorism in civil aviation is of utmost importance, as many recent sad events, such as the Metrojet incident and the Brussels and Istanbul airport attacks, have once again demonstrated. Terrorism is not a national or regional phenomenon – it is a global one. Therefore, to build effective and efficient aviation security (AVSEC) systems, it is unavoidable and imperative to coordinate and cooperate within a region, beyond regions, and organizations. In doing so, we should bear in mind the global joint goal which is to safeguard international civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference. Terrorism is not a national or regional phenomenon, it is international.
The EUR/NAT Aviation Security (AVSEC) Group (ENAVSECG) is the overarching regional aviation security meeting which is held once a year and connects States, regional organizations, as well as industry, in order to foster a better understanding and harmonized implementation of ICAO Annex 17 and Annex 9 (security relevant provisions) in the entire European and North Atlantic Region. The 6th ENAVSECG meeting was held from 4 to 6 July 2017. Around 80 participants from several States, organizations and industry attended the meeting; establishing new ties, renewing existing ones, discussing technical issues, sharing expertise and building a network of AVSEC experts.
The idea of cooperation and jointly fighting terrorism in the civil aviation sector, however, cannot and does not end at this point. Therefore, the ICAO EUR/NAT Office invited the Regional AVSEC Officers from two neighboring ICAO Regional Offices, Middle East (MID) and Western and Central Africa (WACAF), Mr. Luay Ishaquat and Mr. Alassane Dolo, to share the challenges and results of their AVSEC work with ENAVSECG and to be part of discussions. Meeting the two Regional Officers and learning more about AVSEC in other parts of the world was highly welcomed by the participants at the ENAVSECG meeting.
Over the past few years, the EUR/ NAT, MID and WACAF Regional Offices of ICAO, as well as the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), have gained experience in working together. The ICAO EUR/ NAT Office hosted two joint AVSEC seminars for States around the Mediterranean Sea and their closest neighbours in 2014 and 2016. These seminars were excellent examples of cooperation beyond regional “borders” and regional interests. In order to extend their positive impact, a “Joint Mediterranean No 3” seminar in 2018 is currently being discussed.
Cooperation and coordination between the ICAO Regional Officers for Aviation Security and Facilitation are very good. Through sharing information, discussing topics and helping each other, excellent bonds have been established, but there is room for improvement in order to transfer this type of informal ad hoc cooperation into our official meetings and events. The above mentioned examples have been a success and shall guide us further into a cooperative future.
This article was originally written for the ICAO EUR/NAT Office’s Newsletter (Issue 2) on October 2017. A full list of their newsletters can be found here.