2022 Congress Topics included:

Latest Threats and Challenges at the Border: Serious Organised Crime – Trafficking & Smuggling
Bad actors are always seeking new ways to circumvent border security systems and outsmart immigration services or customs. In this session, we will look at some of the new challenges and the latest modus operandi that organised criminal groups are utilising for Human Trafficking or smuggling of illicit or counterfeit goods.

Latest Threats and Challenges at the Border: Serious Organised Crime – Drugs & Weapons
A major event of 2021 was the US and coalition withdrawal from Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opium, and the Taliban are deeply involved in the trade. Therefore, in the near future, we should anticipate a significant increase in opium-based drugs finding their way onto the international market. As illicit drug use in the US and Europe shows no sign of dropping, the continents will continue to remain the primary markets for organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking and associated trafficking in weapons. Criminal actors continue to be incredibly creative in developing new methodologies, vehicles, and techniques. This session will discuss some of the evolving threats facing the enforcement community.

Health at our Borders
The global COVID pandemic remains with us and is likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future. It is now also obvious that border control is the first and best option when it comes to controlling the international spread of pathogens, which gives the medical community the time to create the vaccines necessary to protect the global population from the worst effects of the disease.
Whilst the World Health Organisation (WHO) takes the lead in developing the new protocols required to contain new COVID variants and other future pandemics, this session will look at the adoption and implementation of new protocols, health certification systems and associated technologies on land, sea and airport borders.

Countering Terrorism & Cross Border Crime
The Taliban’s clear inability to stamp out the terrorist groups within Afghanistan means it is probable that the country will once again become a safe haven for terrorists. The continuing conflicts in the Middle East will also continue to provide a fertile breeding ground for terrorism and cross border crime. Cross border criminal activities also continue unabated worldwide, as organised gangs handsomely profit. The UN mandated adoption of API and PNR, in combination with the more widespread use of watchlists, will be a key factor in countering the movement of FTF’s. This session will discuss detecting and countering terrorists and cross border crime through techniques and technologies.

Combating Cultural Heritage & Wildlife Trafficking
UNESCO reports that the illicit trade in cultural goods – of which antiquities trafficking is just a part – is worth $10bn a year and, according to UNODC, wildlife crime is worth between $8-10 billion annually, ranking both alongside human trafficking, and arms and drug dealing in terms of profits.
But the damage to the worlds cultural and environmental heritage is far beyond any financial valuation. This session will discuss what tools and techniques are important in the suppression of this transnational crime and, how awareness and training are key in recognising trafficked goods and spotting the associated fake provenance documents and export certificates. And finally, the importance of sharing information and intelligence across borders about the traffickers and their methods.

Maritime Challenges at the Border and Beyond
Coastlines are the most difficult and dangerous borders to police. From waves of migrants in unseaworthy rubber boats to drug traffickers on jet skis, in speedboats, on yachts and even ocean-going semi-submersibles. Managing maritime borders has multiple challenges, from surveilling and securing extended coastlines, to managing busy and bustling ports. Even jurisdiction between agencies including Coastguards, Navies, Customs, Border Police, Port Police, National Police, and Immigration can be problematic. Especially when these agencies have their stand-alone Command and Control systems and operational procedures. This session will discuss the challenges and how stakeholders can work together to achieve the best outcome.

Developing Digital Borders – Opportunities and Risks
2022 is something of a landmark year for the implementation and adoption of key digital borders, including the UN mandated adoption of Passenger Name Record (PNR) systems and Europe’s ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This session will look at the role of border control and the influence of fighting serious crime and terrorism through API/PNR, ETIAS, Europol /Frontex Interoperability and specific case studies for the roll out of these programmes, and how they can be used for both facilitating legitimate travellers or identifying and targeting criminals.

Future Migration & Trafficking Challenges
As many as 1.75 billion people worldwide (about 38% of the rural population) live on marginal agricultural areas. A U.N. report in August 2021 warned that global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions could breach 1.5C in the next two decades. Agreements made at the COP26 conference failed to make any significant impact on those projections. Major flooding in some parts of the world, and droughts in others, as well as more intense and frequent storms will all make marginal agriculture much more difficult in some areas and untenable in others, which is likely to set millions of people on the move. As global temperatures rise it will directly lead to agricultural and economic crises and mass migration, possibly on a scale that will exceed 2015. This session will discuss how the global border community can be better prepared for mass irregular migration events.