API Consultations in Republic of Moldova supported by IOM and OSCE
During November 4-7, IOM and OSCE jointly carried out consultations with the Moldovan authorities to discuss the next steps in implementing Advance Passenger Information (API) system.
Opening the series of consultations, the Ministry of Interior’s State Secretary, Mr. Gheorghe Balan emphasized the importance of IOM and OSCE support and for all relevant stakeholders being included in the process of establishing an API system. He also noted the need for all agencies to identify optimal solutions in order to smoothly introduce the API system in Moldova, being mindful of the next steps, guided by a vision responding to concrete people’s needs.
IOM Moldova’s Chief of Mission, Mr. Lars Johan Lonnback focused on API’s role for enhancing human mobility globally and the API being a mandatory requirement.
The Head of General Inspectorate of the Border Police, Mr. Rosian Vasiloi, called for an integrated, inter-agency approach, which would generate benefits for ordinary citizens and save costs for implementation of the API.
API systems are electronic communications systems through passenger data, such as biographic and flight details, are collected by airlines and transmitted to border control agencies before a flight’s departure or arrival. The purpose of such advance sharing of passenger information is to improve passenger processing and thus facilitate cross-border travel. All parties to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Chicago Convention are required to establish API systems in their countries, in line with international standards.
The consultations were kicked off with the meeting of the of the Inter-Agency Working Group on Establishing an Advance Passenger Information (API) System in Moldova. The meeting was convened at the headquarters of the General Inspectorate of Border Police and chaired by the Ministry of Interior’s State Secretary, Mr. Gheorghe Balan. The participants gathered to discuss the feasibility of establishing API in Moldova, the national technical and budgetary requirements and needs, the impact and sustainability of such a system, as well as its benefits for the facilitating cross-border travel and improving border security. The IOM and OSCE presented the API concept, the benefits of collecting passenger data and establishing an API system, the experience at the global and regional level, the API financing models, and outlined the expertise which can be further provided to support the implementation of the API system in Moldova.
For the remainder of the week, IOM and OSCE conducted consultations with different governmental entities which aimed at providing legal and technical support to facilitate the implementation of a national API implementation roadmap, drafted during a national workshop in Chisinau in July 2018. Individual meetings were held with different governmental entities, including the General Inspectorate of Border Police, Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, Customs Service, Information Technology and Cyber Security Service, Civil Aviation Authority, the National Centre for Personal Data Protection, Security and Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Finance..
The consultations were facilitated by Livia Styp-Rekowska, Senior Regional Immigration and Border Management Specialist of IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna, Mr. Andrew Priestley, OSCE API/PNR Expert and Ms. Mira Xhamallati, National Police Assistance and Border Management Officer of the Transnational Threats Department of the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna.
IOM and OSCE will continue to support the Government of Moldova in establishing API systems with the aim of enhancing border security and facilitating humane and orderly human mobility.