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Security of the global supply chain in focus of UNECE and OSCE discussion in Geneva

Addressing the main security risks in the inland transport sector, such as terrorism, theft, illegal border crossings and the trafficking of dangerous substances, was the focus of the Security Discussion Forum on Securing the Global Supply Chain jointly organized by UNECE and OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) in Geneva on 17 June.

More than 40 security experts and officials from Ministries of Transport and the Interior, other relevant agencies as well as road, railway and inland waterway transport operators and private sector associations from across Europe participated. Cyber threats, which pose a growing danger to increasingly digitalized transport systems, were also discussed.

Eva Molnar, Director of the UNECE Sustainable Transport Division said: “International terrorism and transnational organized crime, including cyber-attacks pose serious threats to the transport sector.  While transport systems should be based on principles of accessibility, affordability, safety, environmental aspects, security considerations should also be taken very seriously.”

Lorenzo Rilasciati, Senior Economic and Environmental Officer at the OSCE Secretariat said “Countries in our region need to collaborate more effectively in minimizing cyber security risks to ICT-enabled critical infrastructures including in the transport sector”. Transport systems are often insufficiently protected against transnational cyber and other security threats, endanger people’s lives and jeopardises economic and social development. If unchecked, these can even create political tensions and worsen inter-state relations.” 

Experts emphasized the need to introduce a more effective and risk-based approach for all inland modes and identify a common denominator of security threats faced by road, rail and inland navigation. They called for a multi-stakeholder approach involving transport authorities, private sector operators and associations as well as customs and law enforcement agencies.