A new report, Digital Borders, looks to a future in which eligibility to travel is based on the individual rather than the legacy system of a country of origin.
- More intelligence and data sharing. Secure, routine intelligence and data sharing between sovereign national governments and international security organisations on travellers is vital. While significant efforts have been undertaken to improve regular and timely information sharing, additional cooperation and collaboration among these groups is needed.
- Provide advance passenger information. The global aviation system and the efforts of all governments to strengthen aviation security are critical to enabling the movement of people across borders. At the same time, sovereign nations are dependent on each other to provide a common secure aviation environment, which is undeniably connected to each nation’s individual economic security. We thus need to drive forward the UN Security Council Resolution 2309 (2016) which urges nations to require airlines to provide advance passenger information to the appropriate national authorities.
- Make the traveller part of the solution. It’s time for governments to reconsider the role of the traveller. People on the move should be able to own their digital biometric profile and have the ability to push this secure data in advance to make their journey easier. Traveller participation will enable the wider use of pre-clearance and will make international border crossings more efficient.
- Utilise enhanced harmonised biometric standards. International organisations have established harmonised and routine sharing of traveller data, including biometrics for identity verification and travel eligibility, which have improved security and facilitated international travel and commerce between partner countries. To take this forward, national governments need to implement the international standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and assist emerging economies in implementing those standards.
- Expand multilateral agreements. Based on the success of bilateral agreements to date, and on the current state of international security, governments should aim to expand established agreements multilaterally. These expanded agreements should incorporate the harmonised requirements for traveller data.
- Aim for a single application and a single fee. Many nations currently collect country-specific applications, with varying information requirements and separate application fees for travel security programmes. For multi-national implementation, there should be a single application to electronic travel systems with harmonised security requirements and a single cost-based fee with appropriate revenue sharing between participating governments.
- Move to a digital process. Over time, the entire process of border management used by most travellers should be a wholly automated, electronic platform, built on verified biometric data. Evidence is clear that e-visas do not undermine security; they facilitate border crossings for many travellers, reduce paperwork and allow public safety officials to direct more attention and resources to threat identification.
This article was republished courtesy of World Economic Forum.