2023 Congress Topics included:

The threat posed by terrorists and organised criminal groups and their smuggling networks
The links between terrorist groups and organised criminal groups is well known. Both groups utilise many of the same networks and methods to traffic people, weapons (SALW) and drugs, either for financial gain and /or to achieve their political objectives. It is therefore not a great leap of credulity to imagine these channels being used to traffic CBRNe equipment and materials for use as WMD’s. So, identifying and closing down these channels is of critical importance for our citizens health and safety.

Securing maritime borders and combatting maritime crime
Maritime borders are and will remain the most challenging border environment to secure, and not just because the actual border is out at sea or in the ‘Blue Borders’. Once the border is crossed you have the sheer length of the coastlines that have to be secured, much of it rugged and inaccessible. But also because of the multi-dimensional nature of a maritime and ‘Blue’ border. Maritime borders are surface and sub-surface, land, and air, and where each of those environments meet you have a unique set of technical and mitigation problems that need to be solved. This session looks at the issues and some of the solutions.

Trafficking in human beings & migration-related crime (the migration crisis in the digital age)
Human traffickers are rapacious, ruthless, callous, and unscrupulous, but they are also intelligent, cunning, ingenious and adaptable. This means that wherever a gap or weakness in our borders is closed, they will immediately look to find a new gap to exploit. We have seen this repeatedly but most recently in the Channel where traffickers have switched emphasis from smuggling people through the Port of Dover and Shuttle (of course this is still going on daily) to providing unseaworthy small craft for the perilous journey across the channel. Targeting the traffickers is clearly the best way of tackling the issue, but what can border agencies do to affect this?

Counter terrorism and cross border organised crime
The links between terrorism and organised cross border crime is long established. How much and how often terrorist organisations and organised crime work together is more difficult to ascertain. We often see news reports about returning terrorist fighters using human trafficking routes to cross borders, but whether this is terrorists masquerading as irregular migrants or direct collusion between organised crime groups and terrorists is difficult to know. This session will look at what we do know about collusion and what we can do to counter it through the use of, for example, Watchlists and biometrics.

Changing Challenges to Trade and Customs

Trade is the lifeblood of any countries economy and customs duties represent significant sources of revenue for national governments.
However, the illegal trade in counterfeit goods, endangered species, cultural heritage continues to pose a major problem to border and customs authorities worldwide and rob countries of both revenue and in many cases irreplaceable assets. In many parts of the world long, porous borders plus lack of infrastructure and resources, make this problem even more challenging.

Continuing development of digital borders and use of data – (including API / PNR on-going developments, travel documents security, and traveller programs)
As the world moves rapidly towards digital borders with the fully integrated use of API and PNR data, this session brings us up to date with the experiences of the early adopter programmes and implementation and examines these ongoing experiences and lessons that can be shared to help global partners make the transition more seamlessly and cost effectively.

Capacity building and training in tough times
What are we doing to address the skills gaps in our organisations. Once we have identified those skills gaps, how do implement the development, and strengthen the doctrine, skills, processes, instincts, and culture to meet fast changing circumstances.

Panel Discussion: delivering effective border management in uncertain times
Delivering effective border management in unforeseen circumstances, like COVID19 or the migrant crisis – is it about developing the culture of adaptability, better communications or having the systems, processes, and mechanisms in place to put together quick reaction teams across agencies and national borders? Or is it something else? Corruption of border officials or politicisation of law enforcement also brings its challenges. This panel will discuss what is required to react to what we do not know, knowing what we do!