Between the 21st and 24th of November, 48 directors, officials, and technical experts from the regional and national Information Sharing and Information Fusion Centres in the Indo-Pacific met in Bangkok for the 3rd SHARE.IT Conference, to discuss progress and future actions of the initiative.

THAI MECC from Thailand, MARINA from the Philippines, the Italian Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Centre (VRMTC) and the French Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness Centre (MICA) also participated in the event.

SHARE.IT is the interoperability framework developed by CRIMARIO which is designed to link existing information exchange systems together, thus contributing to enhancing maritime situational awareness, collaboration, and cooperation.

During the four-day event, co-organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) and the project, experts presented results of the latest achievements to members and potential partners and the latest technological developments of the SHARE.IT gateway.

The first two days of the conference aimed to bring together IT technicians and junior policymakers to discuss matters of a technical and operational nature while briefing partners on the concepts, challenges, and benefits of SHARE.IT.

It was also the opportunity to present the requirements to enhance the technology and agree to develop a certification system to ensure technical compliance of partners’ developments and the way ahead.

On the following two days, Directors of the Centres convened to discuss policy matters and the way ahead. The EU Special Envoy to the Pacific, H.E. Tibbels, opened the session.

In his remarks, he underlined the significance of the initiative: “The expansion of the SHARE.IT Community is an extremely positive development for the EU, as it demonstrates the EU’s efforts to promote a collaborative and open approach to regional cooperation. Since the Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific was published in September 2021, the EU is stepping up its security engagement with this region, especially in the maritime field.”

Participants agreed to convene in January 2024 to sign a Declaration of Intent related to the new advances of the SHARE.IT initiative, while a technical online meeting will take place in February to prepare the ground for the 4th SHARE.IT Conference (27 – 31 May).

SHARE.IT was consensually considered by partners and guests, as the “missing piece” for Maritime Domain Awareness in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

In her closing remarks, Sara Rezoagli, Acting Ambassador, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Thailand, highlighted that: “All participants agree with the importance of enhancing information exchange amongst the maritime community, and a collaborative tool such as SHARE.IT will allow this to be multiplied. The European Union hopes this initiative will continue and will be coupled with the right political will to implement the corresponding national legislative and regulatory frameworks.”

Martin Cauchi-Inglott, CRIMARIO Project Director, closed the conference by stating: “We are proud to have started this important initiative together with UNODC, and I’d like to acknowledge participants for their contribution during the conference. We made good progress in the implementation of the SHARE.IT technological tool, defined to address common threats and challenges together. Thank you for agreeing to embark on this journey with us to build bridges across vast ocean spaces.”