UN Unveils Airport Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Urges Nigeria, Others to Commence Implementation

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Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The United Nations (UN) Security Council, through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), yesterday unveiled a new security strategy aimed at checkmating terrorism and security threats in its over 43,983 commercial airports and airfields across the globe.

The UN in the security resolution called on Nigeria and countries affiliated to the body to begin the implementation of the ICAO security resolution 2309 (2016). By the terms of the new resolution, the security council urged continued cooperation between ICAO and the counter terrorism executive directorate on identifying gaps and vulnerabilities relevant to aviation security.

In a statement made available to the media in Abuja, by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr. James Odaudu, the UN called on nations to work with ICAO, on the adoption of the new safety resolution.

The statement which relied on agency reports, read: “Adopting resolution 2309 (2016) at a meeting, this morning, on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, the Council called on States to work within ICAO to ensure that its international security standards are reviewed and adapted to effectively address the threat posed by terrorist targeting of civil aviation.
UN said global aviation system is of vital importance to economic development and prosperity.

UN added that all States must strengthen, both individually and collectively, aviation security measures, in order to secure a stable and peaceful global environment.

While expressing concern that terrorist groups are actively seeking ways to defeat or circumvent aviation security, the 15-member body also called on all States to strengthen and promote the effective application of ICAO standards and recommended practices, and to assist ICAO in continuing to enhance audit, capacity development and training programmes in order to support their implementation.

The statement said: “In the resolution, the Council noted with concern that the terrorism threat has become more diffuse, with an increase, in various regions of the world, of terrorist acts including those motivated by intolerance or violent extremism.
“The Council expressed its determination to combat that threat, and also expressed grave concern over terrorist attacks against civil aviation and over the fact that civil aviation may be used as transportation means by foreign terrorist fighters.”

The Council also called on all states to ensure that effective risk-based measures are in place at the airports within their jurisdiction; take all necessary steps to ensure that such measures are effectively implemented on the ground on a continuing and sustainable basis.
“Ensure that such measures take into account the potential role of those with privileged access to areas, knowledge or information that may assist terrorists in planning or conducting attacks; and urgently address any gaps or vulnerabilities that may be highlighted by ICAO or national self-risk assessment or audit processes”, it said.

In addition, all States were urged to strengthen security screening procedures and maximise the promotion, utilisation and sharing of new technologies and innovative techniques that maximise the capability to detect explosives and other threats.

The Council urged member states to strengthen their international and regional cooperation to boost information-sharing, border control, law enforcement and criminal justice to better counter the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters and returnees.
It requested that its counter terrorism committee hold a special meeting within 12 months, in cooperation with ICAO, on the issue of terrorist threats to civil aviation.
As a direct beneficiary of the UN stand on aviation security, Nigeria was recently selected as host of two aviation security training schools; to be located in Abuja and Lagos.