APEC has taken another step in the expansion of a new system that will prevent stolen and lost passports from being used for travel by terrorists and other criminals.
Currently in operation as a pilot trial in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, the Regional Movement Alert List (RMAL) system is now anticipated to expand to other APEC members.
At border crossings using the RMAL system, when a passenger checks-in for a flight or arrives at a border crossing details from their passport are sent to the economy or country that issued the passport. If the passport has been reported as being stolen or lost, an alert will be relayed back to the border point the passenger is attempting to cross for relevant authorities to investigate further.
A three-day RMAL workshop that concluded yesterday in Pattaya, was held to expand knowledge of the practicalities of the RMAL for senior government officials who will now be in a position to consider implementing the system in their economies.
Vincent McMahon, the Convenor of the APEC Business Mobility Group, the APEC forum charged with overseeing the expansion of the RMAL, said the system provides greater safety for the citizens of participating APEC economies and for airline travelers.
"There are more than 3 million passports that have been reported stolen or lost in the APEC Region and some of these will be in the hands of terrorists and other criminals," Mr. McMahon said.
"Before the introduction of RMAL there was no way to detect when these passports were being used to cross borders outside of the country where they were issued. The days of terrorists and other criminals easily traveling on stolen or lost passports are coming to an end."
APEC Member Economies are now working towards agreeing to a multilateral framework that will enable the system to be adopted around the region.
Mr. McMahon said one of the important issues surrounding the use of the RMAL is that it protects the private information contained in national passport offices but will detect fraudulent use of passports.
"The system does not involve establishing shared databases or large information directories in other economies as only when a stolen or lost passport is used will the RMAL system raise an alert."
Following the workshop and with the ongoing success of the RMAL trial in three Member Economies, APEC Senior Officials will consider the adoption of the multilateral framework when they meet in Hoi An, Viet Nam, in September.