A Regional Workshop on API PNR for Members in the East Europe Sub-region took place in Lviv (Ukraine) from 22 to 25 May 2017. Nine Members, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine, participated in the Workshop. In his opening remarks Mr. Igor Kalamuniak, Head of Customs Control Division in Lviv Customs, said that Customs in the Sub-region had a long history of cooperation. The Workshop provided a great opportunity for the participants to work hand-in-hand to develop capability in passenger facilitation and control through the use of passenger data in their administrations.
The WCO pointed out that the challenge for Customs in undertaking passenger facilitation and control is likely to increase over time, taking into account the many developments that could attract passenger flow such as the opening of new flight routes, low-cost flights as well as the creation of new tourist resorts. In addition, Customs has a new security-related role in the prevention of transnational organized crime, such as the smuggling of drugs, weapons and explosives as well as cash, and stemming the flow of terrorists from and to conflict zones. In this regard, a new approach to passenger control involving passenger data is considered to be a smart option for making the work of Customs more efficient.
The WCO provided information about several international instruments that refer to the importance of Advance Passenger Information (API) data. In particular, it was pointed out that a set of guidance and technical standards developed and maintained by the WCO/IATA/ICAO API PNR Contact Committee is available online on the WCO Members’ website, ready to be used as a reference for the implementation of the API PNR programme.
An expert from Netherlands Customs kindly facilitated the Workshop at the WCO’s invitation, providing participants with practical knowledge of passenger risk management based on actual working experience.
The Workshop concluded with a round-table discussion in which participants took stock of the status of the passenger control approach applied in their respective administrations, the potential need for the use of passenger data, possible support required, and foreseeable challenges related to the implementation of the API PNR programme.