A Linkedin post from Christopher Church, Senior Forensics Specialist at INTERPOL, has highlighted the adoption by the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the UN Security Council of the “Abu Dhabi Guiding Principles”, which has established a set of guidelines that address the challenges posed by drones for terrorist purposes.
According to a statement by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“The document is the first of its kind at the United Nations to address the increasing challenges posed by UAS in the context of counter-terrorism. It consists for four guiding principles, each focusing on a different aspect: the integration of UAS threats into national counter-terrorism strategies and establishment of legal frameworks; increased understanding and awareness of UAS threats; developing measures to detect, identify, deter, and respond to UAS threats; and capacity development and information exchange to promote international cooperation.
There are four principles in the document. Among principle one is the recommendations that States review and/or develop “legislation or regulations that identify the competent and responsible national authorities that are authorized to detect and, if necessary, intercept or disable UAS and components in the counter-terrorism context through use of counter-UAS measures, systems and techniques” and develop “national laws, regulations and administrative procedures to enable inter-agency and multi-stakeholder approaches at the domestic level to facilitate cooperation and coordination and intelligence- and information-sharing on threats posed by the use of UAS and their components for terrorist purposes.”
Non-binding guiding principle two encourages States to establish inter-agency and multi-stakeholder cooperation and coordination, including “designating a national authority to lead national coordination, development and implementation and serve as a contact point for foreign partners on measures related to UAS” and “defining the roles and responsibilities of each relevant national entity (e.g. civil aviation authority, law enforcement, customs, the military) and other stakeholders, and empowering them by developing standard operating procedures and providing necessary legal, human and financial resources.
Principle three includes the recommendation for States to develop and deploy UAS traffic management systems “to assist authorities with identifying which UAS may be operating for terrorist purposes…establishing a licensing and registration scheme that clearly and proportionately defines restrictions that mitigate the risk of UAS use for terrorist purposes, enables appropriate authorities to identify terrorist perpetrators and allows for more effective collection of digital forensics, while developing and implementing such licensing procedures and conditions through a multi-stakeholder approach that is in line with human rights and with protection of privacy and data.”
States should also develop and implement standardized testing and evaluation procedures for assessing the safety and effectiveness of counter-UAS technologies, equipment and methods, and deploying counter-UAS technologies that are reliable, accurate and scalable to meet the needs of various environments and use, which may include a certification process.
The final principle encourages States to assist other States, “upon request, by providing effective and targeted capacity development, training and other necessary resources, as well as technical assistance, to enable the development of appropriate capacity to counter threats posed by the use of UAS for terrorist purposes; sharing experiences and information on national practices on the development, governance and implementation of legal and regulatory frameworks, inter-agency and stakeholder cooperation and operational measures, and strengthening effective international cooperation in this area.”
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