New Frontier

I have always been an advocate of online training – pre-Covid-19 this was more to reduce my carbon footprint – now we all need to be advocates for virtual capacity building. As health remains our priority, using more online technology is our reality.

Today, I was part of the UNODC team presenting the Train-the-Trainer Module on Requesting E-Evidence Across Borders and a Catalogue of Cross-Border Exercises, at a virtual Expert Group Meeting (EGM). Hosted on the UNODC online Counter-Terrorism Learning Platform, the team created an iRoom (interactive room) to present to more than fifty training and inter-govrenmental institutions, on implementation of this e-evidence course.

The Train-the-Trainer Module uses a variety of adult learning methods to ensure the participants learn by doing. Law enforcement, prosecutors, central authorities and judges will be able to understand the steps needed to request e-evidence from a service provider in another state by applying the updated mapping of more than 50 service providers, using the model forms for preservation, direct requests, emergency disclosure requests and drafting mutual legal assistance requests. Over four days of training, the Module guides the trainer through delivery of lectures, case studies, practical exercises and culminates in a day long cross border-exercise to test the participants newly acquired skills.

Criminal justice capacity building will forever be different – with governments understandably having other funding priorities and social distancing preventing many in-country missions. It is telling, however, that terrorists and cyber criminals have already, and will continue to, take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, it is important to ensure that support is provided to key stakeholders to address ongoing challenges.

For example, far-right networks are reported to be preparing to take advantage of the possibility of social disorder and groups affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Da’esh (ISIL) continue to use Telegram to incite the commission of offences by supporters in countries said to be distracted by the virus, framing the pandemic as a divine reinforcement of their struggles. Terror attacks continue despite the pandemic, this month in the Maldives ISIL claimed responsibility for an arson attack, in France police suspected a terrorist motive behind a stabbing attack and today 52 young people were shot or beheaded in Northern Mozambique

Yes, there will be issues with the tech. Although, tell me when a meeting in-country has been cancelled, or a power cut prevents PowerPoint presentations at a workshop or deadlines are missed due to other funding priorities. Now we have other challenges. If my WiFi goes down, who will substitute? What if someone is unfamiliar with the tech? Some call it the ‘New normal’ – for me – this isn’t new but an opportunity to be more creative a ‘New Frontier!’

In our EGM the internet went down and with the support of a great team they were able to open up a new iRoom within minutes. As someone quipped, “Too many on Netflix!”

We all have to be more flexible in our delivery of work and I’m glad to be part of a team that has responded effectively to the new normal with a comprehensive plan of online solutions.

This EGM in the iRoom established new contacts and responses to improve the Module – a success!

Stay safe and see you soon on an online platform near you!

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