West Africa Region IWG on API/PNR 11-12 MAY 2022
WEST AFRICA REGIONAL INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON API/PNR -11 – 12TH MAY 2022
The Government of Sierra Leone, through the Office of National Security (ONS) and the Central Intelligence and Security Unit (CISU), is hosting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) first-ever Informal Working Group (IWG) Conference on the development of the Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR). The two-day engagement, which attracts seventeen (17) member states in the West Africa sub-region, is part of the efforts to implement the UN Security Council Resolutions 2178, 2396 and 2482. These resolutions obligate UN member states to establish Passenger Information Units (PIUs) with a view to countering transnational organised criminalities.
The IWG will foster the widest possible cooperation and exchange of information between PIUs based on mutual agreement and following commonly agreed principles and rules. The main objectives of the IWG is to provide a forum for dialogue, exchange of lessons, good practices, solidify the structures of the West Africa IWG on API and PNR, among others.
At the opening session, the National Security Coordinator (NSCoord), Office of National Security (ONS), Mr. Abdulai Caulker, welcomed the delegates to the all-important conference, which is being chaired by the Director General, CISU, Mr. Ansumana Idriss.
In his welcome address, the NSCoord encouraged the need for effective collaboration and coordination, noting that it is only when we collaborate that we will defeat the threats posed to security and development by organised crimes. Among other things, he stated that, “organised crime and violent extremism continue to undermine international peace and security, interrupt sustainable development and affect human rights. These complex challenges require concerted universal efforts to address, and hence I enjoin all nations to cooperate and collaborate”.
The keynote address was delivered by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. David Panda Noah who, on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, thanked the United Nations for giving Sierra Leone the unique opportunity to host the first IGW for West Africa. He pledged Sierra Leone’s fullest co-operation and commitment to the process and entreated all member states to support the implementation.
The opening session of day one was followed by plenary sessions. In these sessions, individual West African states will exchange lessons learned and good practices from national API/PNR experts.
The engagement will continue tomorrow.