Between 29 and 31 October 2014, Sri Lanka and Australia Co-Chaired the sixth Technical Experts Working Group meeting on ‘Beyond Documents’ held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In attendance were representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Maldives, New Zealand, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vietnam, the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Representatives from Bhutan, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Regional Support Office (RSO) attended the meeting as observers.
The theme of the meeting was ‘Beyond Documents’ and focused on the importance of elements that contribute to verifying identity. Discussions focussed on documents, biometric details and other publicly available sources of identity information. Participants gained a better understanding of the processes used to establish identity and opportunities to work collaboratively on this matter in the Asia Pacific region.
Countries shared overviews of the mechanisms they have in place on identity verification.
- Canada presented an overview on their border operations and document integrity whilst sharing insight into identity fraud prevention.
- Sri Lanka outlined its identity integrity measures and shared an overview on immigration and border operations including an overview of their Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and training methods for immigration border staff and expected challenges.
- New Zealand presented on its border security framework and technological advances made in the country in relation to identity confirmation.
- Australia shared current identity integrity measures in place including discussions on identity confirmation technology.
- Indonesia shared an overview of its immigration operations mechanisms and means used to capture digital identity at immigration offices and border crossings.
- Bhutan discussed introducing a biometrics system into its immigration program.
- The Maldives presented the issuing process of their national e-passports which include passport chips which store biometric data.
- The United Kingdom discussed the security features in Great Britain passports in detail elaborating on individual security features and substrate manufacturing process.
- Afghanistan discussed its immigration operations at Kabul International Aiports and checkpoints throughout the country.
- The RSO presented on its current and future activities and Bali Process objectives as well as an overview of the Regional Data Sharing Initiative.
Participants discussed in the context of three breakout rooms the essential common processes in establishing identity, training, tools and technologies to improve identity integrity capability and the barriers to greater identity capability.
Participants agreed on the following:
- The importance of biometrics being integrated into any identity framwork and the use of a common primary biometric to facilitate data exchange.
- The opportunities to share biometric data in the RSO Regional Biometric Sharing project.
- The need to consider developing policy guides on identity management.