Final STAR Report Now Released and Available Online
An APEC counter-terrorism conference has concluded that the dangers posed by man portable surface to air missiles in the hands of terrorists cannot be eliminated. As a consequence strict controls on the export and transfer of these missiles is deemed essential to reduce the threat they pose to civil aviation.
This recommendation was made by the Working Group on Air Transportation Security at the Second Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Conference that was held in ViƱa del Mar, Chile, on March 5-6. The Final Report from the STAR Conference has now been released and is now available online (www.apec.org).
In the dialogue on MANPADS, or Man Portable Air Defense Systems, the Working Group agreed that business and government coordination was essential to prevent their proliferation. The implementation of stringent import and export control policies by Member Economies was cited as the most effective measure that could be employed at the present time to prevent possible attacks.
Private sector speakers told the conference that equipment used by the military to counter MANPAD attacks was not feasible for commercial aviation applications. This was primarily because current military equipment requires extremely high levels of maintenance that would be difficult to meet in a civilian environment.
Given the range of these missiles, speakers said that it was very difficult to secure the large perimeter needed to adequately secure the approaches to airports.
The conference was told that although there were cases where modern jetliners had been struck by MANPADS they had all been able to land safely. Nevertheless, the threat that a missile might destroy a jetliner is real and APEC has an important role to play in preventing the proliferation of MANPADS. This is should be achieved by border policies and procedures that are included in the APEC agenda.
The STAR Conference was attended by over 300 senior business and government representatives from APEC's 21 Member Economies. The aim of the STAR initiative is to facilitate a dialogue between the business and government sectors on counter terrorism issues.
Recommendations from the STAR Conference will now be presented to APEC Officials, Ministers and Leaders for consideration in policy development.
Other areas that were discussed by the STAR Conference included Maritime Security, Business Mobility and Financial Intelligence Units.
The First APEC STAR Conference was held in Bangkok in 2003.