print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > June 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 2004

G8 Travel Initiative
G-8 Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI)


Terrorist attacks against the transportation system remain a serious threat to our citizens and to world commerce. We, the G-8 Leaders, are committed to further assuring the safety of the traveling public while working cooperatively to facilitate movement of travelers across our borders.

At Kananaskis in June 2002, we agreed on a set of actions to promote greater security of land, sea, and air transport, including cargo, to ensure safe, secure, efficient and reliable transportation world-wide. At Evian in 2003, we introduced a plan for the control of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), and established the Counter Terrorism Action Group (CTAG) to assist willing states in building their capacity to counter the terrorist threat.

Today, at Sea Island, we agree on a set of actions that will further enhance the security of the traveling public while improving the efficiency and facilitating the ease of travel. These include actions to implement and expand the scope of the Evian MANPADS plan.

In the Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI), G-8 members support raising standards, modernizing procedures, and exchanging information in order to deter threats, reduce costs, and help ensure safe and efficient movement of passengers and cargo, thereby benefiting international commerce while enhancing security.

We recognize the urgency of our need to work together to counter the terrorist threat within a framework that fully respects the sovereign rights of states to control their borders and that is in compliance with domestic laws and international obligations relating to privacy. We reaffirm our commitment to promote and implement relevant international standards in appropriate fora such as ICAO and IMO. In this regard, we agree to the following shared principles, which underlie our initiative:

  • Work collaboratively, cooperatively, and reciprocally to protect borders and facilitate trade and travel.
  • Facilitate movement of travelers across international borders quickly and easily, while focusing enforcement resources on enhanced security procedures, including risk analysis methods.
  • Permit visa-free travel and simplify and expedite visa processing when acceptable to the receiving state.
  • Maximize effective information exchange among partner states as a key element of strengthening international border security.
  • Work cooperatively to improve screening methods for international travelers, crews, and cargo for known or emerging threats as far in advance as possible.
  • Make all possible efforts to ensure that travel documents are secure, resistant to fraud and globally interoperable.
  • Ensure effective, coordinated responses to imminent threats.

To demonstrate our resolve to expeditiously address security vulnerabilities and ensure the traveling public that we are taking all appropriate steps to protect their safety, we announce today that we already have completed the following actions from the SAFTI initiative:

  • The promotion and implementation of enhanced international standards for the secure issuance of passports;
  • The establishment of a 24-hour aviation point of contact network to address imminent threats to airlines; and
  • The preparation of an information manual for assessing the vulnerability of G-8 airports to the MANPADS threat.

The agreed SAFTI Action Plan follows and includes 28 individual action items. Where a projected completion date is not specified for an action item still in progress, we commit to achieving measurable progress by December 2004, with a report on such progress by January 2005.

G-8 Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI)


Document Interoperability through International Standards

  1. Expedite cooperative work to develop and export best practices, including methods of risk analysis, to ensure security while facilitating travel across international borders, particularly for frequent travelers, without compromising existing or future security procedures. We will ensure these best practices are fair and objective.
  2. Work with ICAO and others to strengthen international standardized practices for passport issuance, and encourage their adoption and implementation by all governments. We will work to effect implementation by the 2005 Summit.
  3. Accelerate development of international standards for the interoperability of government-issued smart chip passports and other government-issued identity documents. We will work for implementation by the 2005 Summit.

International Information Exchange

  1. Develop mechanisms, where possible, for real-time data exchange with respect to validation of travel documents, visa watchlist information and advanced passenger information, while fully respecting applicable personal data protection rules. Interim progress by December 2004, with a view toward beginning implementation in 2005.
  2. Agree to provide effective and timely information exchange on the terrorist watchlist or lookout data of participating countries on a reciprocal basis, using procedures that satisfy security concerns and are consistent with the privacy and other laws of those countries. Status report to be provided by the end of the year; implement by the 2005 Summit.
  3. Agree to start providing information by December 2004 to an Interpol database that allows for real-time information sharing on lost and stolen international travel documents.
  4. In carrying out the SAFTI initiative, share best practices on effective cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement officials.

MANPADS Threat Reduction

  1. Accelerate efforts to destroy excess and/or obsolete MANPADS and provide assistance to do so where needed.
  2. Work toward expedited adoption of the updated 2003 Wassenaar "Elements for Export Controls on MANPADS" as an international standard.
  3. Further strengthen controls on transfer of MANPADS production technology to deter marketing of MANPADS by countries that do not maintain strong standards of export controls.
  4. Establish a best practices document, that can be adopted as an international standard, on optimal methods for securely storing MANPADS.
  5. Develop a methodology to be used by G-8 countries in assessing airport vulnerability to the MANPADS threat and effective countermeasures, taking into account the study conducted by ICAO.
  6. Improve methods for enhancing MANPADS identification techniques and countermeasures against smuggling.

Capacity Building and Collaboration

  1. Collaborate to improve methodologies, techniques and systems to analyze data on passengers, crew and cargo in advance of travel. Provide a status report by December 2004; where improved approaches are agreed, seek to begin to implement them by the 2005 Summit.
  2. Develop procedures, working with ICAO, to ensure that all states have proper inspections and enforcement regimes to ensure that airlines and airports are complying with international standards.
  3. Establish a Point-of-Contact network for the communication of imminent threats to civilian air transportation and urgent security requests, and guidelines for responding.
  4. Accelerate efforts to develop best practices and procedures for air and ground countermeasures, including the training, qualification and use of guards and sky marshals, as appropriate; examine how to work within ICAO and CTAG to share expertise and information with others. Begin implementation of these agreed best practices and procedures by December 2004; finalize in 2005.
  5. Examine ways and means to collaborate, on a reciprocal basis, on the forward placement of document advisors, where this will effectively contribute to aviation security and where mutually acceptable and bilateral arrangements are worked out.
  6. Develop arrangements to ensure that passengers and their hold and cabin bags, once screened, are protected from unlawful interference, through the deployment of a "layered security" regime comprising background checks on staff; robust physical access controls; and arrangements to limit access to screened passengers and their bags to persons who are subject to an appropriate security system. Seek to finalize plans in 2005 for implementing the regime.
  7. Work to develop and promote cost effective, robust flight deck security, first by pressing for full compliance by October 2004 by all States with the requirements of the ICAO Standards for all passenger aircraft of over 45.5 metric tons or more than 60 passenger seats to be fitted with reinforced flight deck doors, and then by examining ways to reinforce flight deck security, including reinforced bulkheads. All such carriers flying within G-8 airspace should be compliant on flight deck door security by October 2004. Provide progress report on bulkhead security study by 2005 Summit.
  8. Identify and adopt best practices within the G-8, and then promote these practices internationally, to ensure that appropriate information regarding passengers in transit is provided to the transit state from the immediately preceding departure state.
  9. Study and assess the need for, and the feasibility of, developing guidelines similar to ICAO Standards of Aviation Security for possible application to General Aviation and Corporate/Business Aviation operations in order to enhance security regulations.
  10. Endorse and promote mechanisms for frequent consultation with public and private sector transportation security stakeholders.
  11. Expand research and development collaboration on biometric technologies, working with ICAO, to develop for practical implementation a next-generation passenger control concept. Show progress by 2005.
  12. Examine ways and means to further improve, simplify and expedite visa procedures to enhance security and facilitate legitimate travel when acceptable to the receiving state.
  13. Assess and reduce terrorism-related risk in the maritime domain through focused cooperative efforts, beginning with voluntary self audits and the development of a port facilities security auditing methodology and checklist among the G-8 and within the International Maritime Organization, taking into account the concept of the ICAO audit program for aviation security.
  14. Endorse increased support for capacity building through CTAG to willing states to improve their travel document approval and issuance systems, and border controls.
  15. Undertake, through CTAG, to examine how the G-8 and other states or organizations can assist states in meeting and sustaining these new security requirements.