From the 13th-15th of January, the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Authority (DNRD) will host the 7th Government Discussion Forum on Electronic Identity Documents. Senior government officials from 35 countries will be participating in this international conference held at the Bustan Rotana Hotel. This is the first time this annual forum has taken place in an Arab country. This 3-day annual international meeting is held since 2002 and offers a unique opportunity for government agencies to present and discuss the status of their national projects and exchange views and expertise. The focus of this year’s forum will be the application of biometric ePassports, smart ID cards and automated border control and the best practices for utilization of these technologies by governments, airlines and airports. Dubai is one of the world leaders in the application of electronic technologies at the various entry and exit points. In its efforts to increase efficiency in border security, the DNRD recently introduced biometric controls such as the Iris Scan and the Finger Print Identification Device to the new Dubai International airport, facilitating the identification of travelers. “This forum will be an excellent opportunity for government agencies from around the world to share information and discuss best practices in matters of biometric ePassports, national identity cards and border control. Electronic identity technologies have come a long way and could, in future, provide a solution to increasingly salient issues such as bio-security and border protection,” stated Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of DNRD. The three day forum will consist of introductory briefings on the first day and closed door sessions on the second day. All participants in the forum are invited by DNRD to visit Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 to see the unique national border security initiatives, based on electronic identity documents and biometrics, deployed in the United Arab Emirates. The forum is organized by the Asia Pacific Smart Card Association (APSCA) a non-profit industry association for smart cards, ePassports and related technologies in Asian Pacific. Greg Pote, Chairman of The APSCA claimed: “Holding the 7th Forum in Dubai in 2009 is a unique opportunity to develop experience sharing, best practices and networking between government EID experts from agencies in the Gulf, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Government agencies from all regions are keen to strengthen border security while also facilitating passenger travel and improving the delivery of government services to citizens through electronic channels.” Over 120 government officers from 35 countries all around the world including the Gulf region are travelling to Dubai to participate in the 7th Government Discussion Forum on Electronic Identity Documents.