Security Council adopts resolution on countering terrorist threats to civil aviation
22 September 2016 – The global aviation system is of vital importance to economic development and prosperity, and all States must strengthen, both individually and collectively, aviation security measures, in order to secure a stable and peaceful global environment, the United Nations Security Council declared today.
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 the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to ensure that its international security standards are reviewed and adapted to effectively address the threat posed by terrorist targeting of civil aviation.
Expressing particular 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.
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 a transportation means by foreign terrorist fighters.
Further to the text of the resolution, the Council called on all States to, among other action, 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.
In addition, all States should strengthen security screening procedures and maximize the promotion, utilization and sharing of new technologies and innovative techniques that maximize the capability to detect explosives and other threats.
Specifically, under the terms of the resolution, States that are able to do so are urged to assist in the delivery of effective and targeted capacity development, training and other necessary resources, technical assistance, technology transfers and programmes.
Furthermore, the Council called on all 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.
By the terms of the resolution, the Security Council also encouraged continued cooperation between ICAO and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate on identifying gaps and vulnerabilities relevant to aviation security.
In addition, the Council 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.
In July 2014, following the crash of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine that killed 298 people on board, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2166 calling for an international investigation into the incident, and demanded at the time that armed groups allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure that its integrity was maintained. Later that month, ICAO convened a special Task Force on Risks to Civil Aviation arising from Conflict Zones.
In September 2014, the Security Council adopted resolution 2178 in response to an unprecedented flow of foreign terrorist fighters and the growth of facilitation networks fuelling conflicts around the world. Under the terms of that resolution, the Council called on Member States to require that airlines operating in their territories provide advance passenger information to the appropriate national authorities in order to detect the departure, from their territories, of individuals designated by the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.