Chemical Security in Istanbul

2015-12-15 09.02.08I had the most interesting week in Istanbul with the Iraqi government representatives, chemical sector companies and the US State Department Chemical Security Program, CSP.

Security in the chemical supply chain is a major challenge for government agencies and chemical supply chain companies across the globe, including those in the Middle-East and North African (MENA) region. Theft, diversion, trafficking, export violations, counterfeit chemicals, sabotage and terrorism – among other criminal threats – keep the agencies and companies constantly on their toes when considering how to best tackle the vulnerabilities and threats in their respective chemical supply chains.

This was my second time to join as an external expert in a Chemical Security Program (CSP) event in the MENA region. The first time was in Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015 – thanks again to Professor Andrew Thomas, the Chief Editor of the Journal of Transportation Security, for hooking me up with CRDF Global and the US State Department on this. Now the four day event targeted for the relevant Iraqi government agencies as well as the Iraqi chemical sector companies was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 14-17 December 2015.

We had a fully packed agenda: Day 1 consisted of several introductory and state-of-play speeches by the workshop facilitators and by Iraqi experts, the latter group sharing key governmental, industry and academic perspectives to the chemical security progress in Iraq.  Day 2 started with a case study presentation on “Post-2001 supply chain security developments at Dow Chemicals”, followed by private-public partnership considerations in chemical supply chain security. During the afternoon of day 2, two more presentations were given on potential threats to materials of interest, as well as on site-physical security. Day 3 started with presentations on international transport of dangerous goods and security rules, followed later by presentations on export control and border security issues, as well as risk assessment methodological aspects.

Interactive sessions, group exercises and other discussions were vivid throughout the four days. On day 1, the main interactive session was about government-industry coordination. On day 2, the focus shifted to identifying key players in Iraqi chemical supply chain security, as well as exploring private sector specific chemical security issues. On day 3, a major interactive session took place to recognize existing vulnerabilities and threats in the chemical supply chain, as well as to identify appropriate countermeasures and other possible means of improvement. And finally, on day 4, a draft table of content for a potential “Iraqi chemical supply chain security master plan and implementation roadmap” was produced in a highly interactive manner, followed ultimately by drafting some actual planning content in areas including chemical transport security and raising security awareness.

The actual workshop outcomes and possible follow-up actions will be worked upon later by the organizing team and some key participants. In the meanwhile, I want to express my warmest thanks for this opportunity and great on-site collaboration in Istanbul to: Ms. Shawn Garcia from the U.S. Department of State, Chemical Security Program (DOS/CSP); Ms. Pelin Kavak and Mr. Nidal Abu Sammour from CRDF Global, US / Jordan; and Dr. Caner Zanbak and Mr. Mustafa Bagan from the Turkish Chemical Manufacturers Association (TCMA). Hope to meet you again in 2016 in Iraq, Algeria and possibly other locations in the MENA region!


Cheers, Juha Hintsa

P.S. We also tested two CBRA frameworks / models – CBRA SCS15/16, and CBRA-BAC-Actions and beneficiaries – with the audience during the Istanbul week. Both of them were well perceived, and will be topics for CBRA Blog during the coming couple of months. (SCS = Supply Chain Security, and BAC = Border Agency Cooperation).

PPS. Last but not least I would like to thank Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio, Italy, and FP7-project CORE, for excellent inputs on transport of dangerous goods, traceability and monitoring solutions, demonstrators, and practical experiences.


Resolución de Punta Cana, Resolución de la Comisión de Políticas de la Organización Mundial de Aduanas sobre el papel de la aduana en el contexto de la seguridad, OMA 2015 (CORE2004)

La nueva Resolución de Punta Cana establece directrices para los roles de seguridad de las aduanas en la lucha contra la nueva ola de terrorismo, tal como se manifiesta en los recientes ataques a Túnez, Turquía, Líbano, Francia y Malí. La Resolución destaca que las autoridades de aduanas son usualmente la primera línea de defensa contra el crimen transnacional, el terrorismo y el extremismo: las aduanas controlan los movimientos transfronterizos de personas, mercancías, dinero y medios de trasporte, y por lo tanto, protegen a las comunidades contra terroristas que pueden utilizar la cadena internacional de suministros para movilizar materiales, fondos u operativos a través de las fronteras. Sobre la base de los instrumentos y acuerdos anteriores de la OMA, especialmente del Programa de Seguridad de la OMA, la Resolución de Punta Cana es el plan de acción de la comunidad aduanera, y con la promesa renovada de solidaridad que ofrece un fondo diplomático para otras actividades antiterroristas. Más información en:

[s2If is_user_logged_in()]

Full review

The new Punta Cana Resolution sets guidelines for customs’ security roles in the combat against the new wave of terrorism, as manifested by recent attacks in Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, France and Mali. The resolution highlights that the customs authorities are typically the first line of defense against transnational crime, terrorism and extremism: the customs control cross-border movements of people, cargo, money and modes of transport and thus protect communities against terrorists that may exploit international supply chains to move materials, funds or operatives across borders. Building on the previous WCO instruments and agreements, especially on the WCO Security Programme, the Punta Cana resolution is the customs community’s action plan and renewed pledge of solidarity that provides a diplomatic backdrop for further counterterrorism activities.

The Punta Cana resolution encourages customs administrations worldwide to intensify collaboration within the customs community and with other border control agencies, both domestically and internationally. In case of missing or obsolete counter-terrorism strategy, the resolution urges customs to add new security roles in their mandates and activities. The Punta Cana document also recommends customs to pay close regard to the WCO’s previous agreements and instruments, such as the WCO Compliance and Enforcement Package, SAFE Framework of Standards and the WCO Security Programme. At more practical level, the resolution promotes the use of the full range of modern detection and investigation techniques, especially advance risk profiling on the basis of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR). The resolution also calls governments from around the world to provide necessary financial and human support so that their national customs administrations can contribute towards the goals of the WCO Security Programme.

The Punta Cana Resolution informs CORE consortium about the changing risk landscape where the threat of transnational terrorism is high again. The Resolution also reminds the CORE’s risk cluster of the three cornerstones of effective border security management: collaboration, technology and human resources. The Punta Cana document also gives an overlook on the customs’ security priorities over the following years. For example, the global customs community will likely invest a great deal of time and money to develop new risk profiling systems that tap into new data sources such as the Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR). The same trend towards better risk profiling is likely to define also the future cargo security efforts at the borders.

Reference: WCO, 2015. Punta Cana Resolution, Resolution of the Policy Commission of the World Customs Organization on the Role of Customs in the Security Context.