Improving Major Events Security in the Americas
5th IPO Americas National Focal Points Meeting

Panama City, 23 May 2012. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Organizations of the American States Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (OAS-CICTE) are organizing the 5th International Permanent Observatory (IPO) Americas National Focal Points Meeting from 23 to 25 May 2012 in Panama City. The meeting is being hosted by the Government of Panama, with the participation of representatives of 29 OAS Member States.

According to UNICRI Director, Mr. Jonathan Lucas, The National Focal Point Meetings are the milestones of the IPO Americas Programme, established to define regional priorities in the field of Major Events Security. The IPO Americas Programme was launched in 2007 by UNICRI and OAS-CICTE and has been funded by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2010. The main objective of IPO Americas is to facilitate mutual assistance and the sharing of best practices between participating countries towards the establishment of a permanent mechanism in the region to assist Major Events security planning. This mechanism will provide resources and expertise to protect Major Events, and will incorporate the value of experience, of such events, already acquired in the region. In addition, the Programme provides training and technical assistance in accordance with the highest international standards to secure Major Events hosted in the Region.

The main aim of the meeting is to launch the Knowledge Management System (KMS), the virtual platform for the Programme. The KMS will contain detailed information regarding the Programme activities, a registry of both past and future Major Events in the region and national, regional and international legislation relating to Major Events security. In addition, a community will be established to discuss past and future Major Events and facilitate the exchange of information and best practices. The Meeting also aims at gathering inputs from the National Focal Points on the development of a Regional Training Manual on Major Events Security and Crime Prevention and, discussing the elaboration of standards and protocols to advance public-public and public-private partnerships.

The meeting is also an opportunity to update the partners on the technical assistance activities conducted subsequent to the 4th IPO Americas National Focal Points Meeting held in Bogotá¡ in April 2011: the training for the upcoming G20 in Mexico, held in April 2012; the Sub-Regional workshop for the Caribbean, held in Jamaica in March 2012; the workshop for Carnival and Festival security for the Caribbean, held in Trinidad & Tobago in November 2011; and, two Training exercises in preparation for the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, held in March and September 2011.

The legacy of IPO Americas is expected to be manifold. First, the partners envisage that the enhancement of international cooperation in the region in the build-up to and during these events will produce long-term policing benefits, wherein the lessons learned and best practices established can be incorporated into a broader framework of crime prevention strategies throughout the Americas. Second, the development of the partners' capacities for the organization of Major Events will enhance the capacity of the region for hosting safe, secure and incident-free Major Events. Third, the improvement in the capacity of the host states will have socio-economic benefits for the region as a whole.

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