Media Center



May 23, 2019 - Washington, DC

Directory of National Points of Contact

I am pleased to present for the consideration of Member States, a directory of the National Points of Contact of CICTE, which was distributed on May 14, 2019 as document CICTE/doc.5/19. This document reflects the names and contact information provided by Member States as of May 1, 2019. I note that the Secretariat has subsequently received modifications submitted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Should any additional modifications be necessary, the Secretariat kindly asks that Member States submit, in writing, any updated information before June 15 so that a revised list can be distributed.

The Secretariat has distributed an updated directory each quarter and we intend to continue that practice over the coming year, as well as to publish the updated list on the CICTE website with a view to facilitating communications and the regular exchange of information between CICTE’s national points of contact.

And allow me please, Chair, the opportunity to acknowledge the National Points of Contact for their participation here today.

Status of ratifications of the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism

I am also pleased to present for the consideration by Member States the list of ratifications to the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, which was adopted in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 3, 2002 and entered into force on July 10, 2003. Member States will see from document CICTE/doc.6/19, which was also distributed on May 14, 2019, that to date, 33 Member States have signed the Convention and 24 have deposited their instruments of ratification, the most recent of which was deposited in 2008.

Summary of Activities carred out by the CICTE Secretariat during 2018

As delegates will recall, the 2018 Annual Report of this Committee was considered and approved during the first preparatory meeting held on March 20, 2019. It was again presented on May 14 for consideration by the Committee on Hemispheric Security and has since been forwarded to the General Assembly for consideration during its forty-ninth period of sessions.

Today I am delighted to share just some of the successes of the CICTE Secretariat and the 7 core programs that we implemented over the 2018 calendar year.

With regards to cybersecurity, the CICTE Secretariat typically works from a 3-pronged approach: policy development, capacity building, and research and outreach. In policy development, the CICTE Secretariat supported Guatemala and the Dominican Republic in the launch of their respective national cybersecurity strategies; acted as technical secretariat for the Working Group on Cooperation and Confidence-Building Measures in Cyberspace, which we’ll hear more about in the next session, and helped to define guidelines for implementing an information exchange protocol for the Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) of the countries of the Pacific Alliance.

Over 5,000 representatives of the public and private sectors benefitted from training in critical infrastructure protection, incident response, and measures to prevent and counter the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, such as recruitment and radicalization. Here I’d like to highlight two courses in particular: the first in which hundreds of women from 11 different Member States had the opportunity to benefit from hands-on technical exercises to develop their cyber capabilities; and the other “Creating a Career Path in Digital Security” which provided cybersecurity and job readiness skills to over 160 young adults from underpriveleged areas of Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Peru. Both of these innovative programs seek to create cadres of much-needed cyber-ready professionals throughout the Hemisphere.

And we also produced many different technical reports and white papers, including one to measure the impact of cyber incidents on critical infrastructure protection, and one on impact of cyber incidents on the banking sector, all of which seek to inform and guide our region’s cyber policy and decision makers. I also note that a detailed country-by-country report of all cybersecurity acitivites carried out over the year was distributed as an information document of this meeting.

With regard to Border Management, CICTE had four active programs in 2018: tourism security, cargo and container security, supply chain security and maritime and port security.

As regards tourism security, CICTE worked with public and private sector partners in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and Saint Lucia to provide risk management training in tourist destinations, and also supported Jamaica and Costa Rica in the development of their respective tourism security plans.

With regard to cargo and container security, we worked in Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago to strengthen national capacities to carry out risk assessment strategies, screening and inspection techniques, and to identify recent trends in criminal methodologies. I’m also pleased to highlight one particular workshop carried out in Peru to support the empowerment of female border security officers, particularly customs officers, in that country.

The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, which leverages public-private sector partnerships to facilitate trade while ensuring increased security measures, primarily in the customs domain, significantly expanded private-sector engagement in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil in 2018 and organized a regional conference in Uruguay to lay the groundwork for a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in the Southern Cone.

And the maritime and port security program worked in several ports throughout Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama to carry out vulnerability and capacity gap assessments, and to build capacity in such areas as crisis management and response; and general port security awareness. We also organized several events in Guatemala, Uruguay, The Bahamas and the United States to enhance coordination and cooperation among maritime and port security stakeholders at the national and regional levels.

Our third core pillar is policy and legislative assistance, and this shop had two active programs in 2018.

The first, which focuses on the prevention and ocuntering of terrorist financing, worked primarily in Panama and Paraguay to help authorities in those countries ensure greater compliance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations. Specifically CICTE helped amend existing legal provisions in both countries, and trained officials from different agencies on mechanisms for implementing financial targeted sanctions and systems for domestic lists.

And through our last program, implementation of UNSCR 1540, CICTE supported Uruguay, Guatemala and El Salvador in the drafting of their national action plans; provided legislative assistance to Panama and Paraguay to amend existing laws; and organized events in Mexico, Panama and Uruguay to strengthen capacities in such areas as preventing the proliferation of WMD and increasing detection of radiological and nuclear weapons and dual-use materials.

Absolutely none of these programs, or our impressive results, would have been possible without the confidence of our Member States, the support of our many many partner institutions or, of course, the generosity of our donor community.

And that leads me to my fourth and final report:

Presentation on the current situation of the CICTE Secretariat

As I head into my third year at the helm of this Secretariat, I am pleased to report that the state of the CICTE Secretariat is strong. Of course there is always room for continued growth, but overall I want to reassure you that our Secretariat is well positioned to continue to support Member States in their efforts to prevent and counter terrorism in this Hemisphere.

Over the next few minutes, I’ll touch briefly on 3 key areas: financial resources, human resources, and communications and outreach. Let’s start with this last one.

Communications and Outreach

As part of the CICTE Secretariat’s aggressive Communication Strategy, which we launched at the end of 2017, I’m pleased to report that CICTE today is more “present” than ever before. In close collaboration with our Press and Communications Department, we have developed an active social media presence through which we share activities, results and highlights of our work. In fact, in 2018 we published over 700 such announcements–that’s about 2 per day–through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We’ve added approximately 100 new followers to these accounts each month, and as a result reached 1.5 million impressions in 2018 (this apparently is an important metric that measures the number of times a CICTE post is shown on social media).

For those of you who may not (yet) be active on social media, we’ve also sent regular missives to our National Points of Contact and permanent missions to share accomplishments, highlight new partnerships and/or announce upcoming activities, and we’ve also issued periodic press releases when there is particularly noteworthy news to share.

Furthermore, we’ve published two different video series that seek to promote CICTE’s mission and also bring a “human element” to our work by introducing many of our program managers. 26 different videos have been produced and shared on Facebook and are “looped” on TV monitors throughout the OAS so that member states and visitors alike have an ongoing visual reminder of the work of this Committee.

As the latest installment to this communication strategy, I am beyond thrilled to announce that today we are launching the new CICTE website. Perhaps it took a bit longer than we expected, but some things are worth the wait! Please visit us at -- we hope you find it to be a useful, current and dynamic resource.

As part of our outreach strategy, we have worked diligently over the past year to create new partnerships and strengthen existing ones.

In particular I’d like to acknowledge our work with the United Nations and its many committees and agencies, including the Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), the Office for Disarmanent Affairs (UNODA), the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), the Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the 1540 Group of Experts, many committees of the UN Security Council; the Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and many of UN’s specialized agencies, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Customs Organization and the International Maritime Organization, who I note has designated OAS/CICTE as its regional implementation partner in this Hemisphere.

We have numerous other key partners, all of whom are listed in the Work Plan, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention: Canada’s Border Services Agency and the Customs-Trade Parternship against Terrorism (CT-PAT) program of the US Custom’s and Border Protection.
We also began steps to strengthen cooperation and coordination, including through the signing of cooperation agreements or participation in political or technical events, with such agencies as the European Union, the Regional Security System, the Financial Action Task Force, the Federation of Latin American Banks, and numerous private-sector entities. We look forward to developing these relationships and others, and to ensuring that the technical assistance and financial resources provided throughout the region are well coordinated.

This leads to some brief remarks on financial resources.

Financial Resources

The 2018-2019 Program-Budget of the Organization assigned the CICTE Secretariat a total of $57,400 from the Regular Fund for non-personnel expenses and for the organization of CICTE’s annual meeting. As for personnel, the Secretariat has two Regular Fund staff positions: that of the Executive Secretary and an Administrative Officer. For this reason I thank you for considering CICTE’s budgetary needs as you consider the 2019-2020 Program-Budget of the Organization.

As regards to voluntary contributions from Member States, Permanent Observer countries and the private sector, approximately US$3.5 million was received to support implementation of the 2018-2019 Work Plan.

In particular I’d like to thank the Governments of Canada (through its ACCBP and GPP programs), the Government of the United States (through its Bureau of Counterterrorism and its Export Control and Border Security Program (EXBS), the Governments of Colombia and Mexico; the Governments of the United Kingdom, Estonia, the Netherlands and Spain, and several private sector organization such as Microsoft, Trend Micro, Amazon Web Services and Citi Foundation, for their support of specific CICTE programs over the year.

We are also quite grateful to the Governments of Argentina, Chile, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago for making unrestricted contributions to help develop CICTE partnerships and international cooperation in 2018. I am further pleased to note that we received a similar contribution from the Government of the Bahamas early in the first quarter of 2019. These contributions are very much appreciated, and really do make a significant difference in ensuring the Secretariat’s implementation of the Work Plan.

Human Resources

And finally, I’d like to refer to CICTE’s human resources – without a doubt our most valuable resource.

I’ll begin by thanking the Governments of Mexico and the United States for their continued support in seconding or “detailing” staff positions to the CICTE Secretariat. This has been a positive arrangement for CICTE as we benefit greatly from this sharing of experience and know-how, typically for 2-year cycles. Today we have one officer on loan from the Mexican Navy, Captain Israel Gutierrez, and one from the Mexican Army, Lt. Col. Victor Sanchez, as well as one foreign service officer from the US State Department, who happens to be CICTE’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Brian Quigley.

Brian’s rotation with us acutally ends next week, so let me please take this opportunity to thank him here for his service and commitment to the Secretariat over these past 2 years. It’s been a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with him, and we wish him much luck as he returns to State Department. Brian’s replacement will be joining us in a few weeks and I’ll look forward to introducing you to her soon.

I’d also like to inform you that early this year we brought on a budget officer to compliment the work being carried out by the centralized Administrative Management Section. I believe this decision will help ensure greater financial and budgetary oversight of all of CICTE’s regular and specific fund programs and activities, and I hope our donors will soon see the positive impact of this new CICTE addition, if you haven’t already.

And finally, and I won’t mention them all here by name, but I would like to acknowledge and publically thank the entire CICTE Secretariat. It takes a lot of people to make a winning team, and this winning team offers a great combination dedication, skill and talent. It’s a honor to lead this dynamic group of professionals and if you don’t know them yet, I hope you have the opportunity to meet with them over the course of the day.

In closing, I’d like to thank the Government of Argentina for its very capable leadership of CICTE during the past year. My sincere thanks to Ambassador Bertol and Lorena Capra of the Permanent Mission to the OAS, and also to Eduardo Bustamente, who was until recently Argentina’s National Point of Contact to CICTE, for their fantastic support of our work.

I am equally grateful to the Government of Canada for its support during this preparatory process, and look forward to developing an equally productive and rewarding relationship with them as they assume the Presidency for 2019-2020.

Thank you all for the confidence bestowed in me as your Executive Secretary and in the work of this Secretariat. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you.