Maintaining the MRTD Programme’s relevance to global security challenges: trends and issues
Three important current trends that have been shaping the ICAO MRTD Programme include:
The expansion of the MRTD Programme’s scope and mandate, as recognised by the recent TAG/MRTD and the ICAO 37th Assembly. Historically, the MRTD programme used to be about a set of rules how to manufacture and personalise MRTDs. It has been achieved by now, the norms are elaborate and there is a sustainable mechanism how to maintain them updated and relevant. But as the MRTD specifications are so comprehensive already, the trans-border crime and terrorism focus has been shifting to the pre-issuing and post-issuing phases which contain far more weaknesses: (i) evidence of identity (“breeder documents”), civil registries and gaps in the integrity of the issuance process, and (ii) border controls, travel document fraud, forensic examination and detection, and cross-border intelligence sharing. Those newly-emerged areas need to be addressed with considerable political will, efforts and resources in order to consolidate the core MRTD programme security-wise.