The annual Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Conference has concluded with a common position that the region should not neglect the development of human skill levels in efforts to combat terrorism.
Chair of the APEC Counter Terrorism Task Force, General Benjamin P. Defensor, said the conference of around 300 business executives, security experts and government officials recognized the value of new technologies but stressed the importance in investing in human capital.
"The greatest resource we have in the war against terror is the intelligence and commonsense of our people," General Defensor said.
"The conference agreed that APEC should avoid the tendency to solely focus on technology and should emphasize the development of human resources, and practical solutions to problems.
"Certainly we need the support that is provided by new technologies, but we also need skilled people to do the real work in overcoming terrorism, to make life and death decisions and rely on human instinct.
"Ultimately it comes down to the skills of people in the government and private sectors who are the eyes, ears and brains of protecting our economies from terrorism.
"We hope Member Economies will keep our observations in mind when considering their counter terrorism strategies and invest in appropriate education and training programs."
Another recommendation to come from the STAR Conference was for the greater sharing of information on the sale, receipt and loss of shoulder launched surface to air rockets, or MANPADS.
Delegates also urged all APEC Member Economies to endorse and encourage timely implementation of the Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade under the World Customs Organization Framework.
These and a range of other recommendations will now be presented to the meeting of the APEC Counter Terrorism Task Force in Seoul next week and are anticipated will be considered as policy recommendations by Leaders and Ministers later in the year.
This Third STAR Conference was held in Incheon, Korea, on February 25-26 and covered the areas of Aviation and Maritime Security. The first STAR Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2003 and the Second STAR Conference was held in ViƱa del Mar, Chile, in 2004.