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Updated On: Friday, 19 January 2018
Development Issues

Terror Threat ‘Real, Complex and Transnational’, Secretary-General Tells Advisory Board of Counter-Terrorism Centre, Stressing Response Must Be ‘Just as Serious’

Content by: UN General Assembly

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the fifteenth meeting of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre Advisory Board, in New York today:

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to Ambassador [Abdallah] al‑Mouallimi.

  Thank you for your able leadership as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre.  I want to thank you personally and to thank your country for your very strong commitment to support the United Nations counter-terrorism strategy.

You mentioned the Moderation Centre.  I was very impressed in my visit to Riyadh, when I had the opportunity to go into the Moderation Centre, and indeed to recognize that, beyond all the other dimensions, there is an essential battle of values and ideas, if we really want to defeat terrorism all over the world.  So, thank you very much again, for your very strong support.

It is a testament to this Board’s commitment that the General Assembly has repeatedly recognized the Centre’s work, including in its decision to establish the Office of Counter-Terrorism.  Indeed, I would like to thank all of you for your support for the establishment of this Office — my first institutional reform.

The goals of the Office of Counter-Terrorism are clear:  to provide leadership on United Nations work to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism; to enhance coordination and coherence in implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy; and above all to strengthen our capacity-building assistance to Member States.

Security threats and challenges are evolving rapidly.  Terrorist groups such as Da’esh, Al-Qaida, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram continue to inflict a rising toll of death and devastation.  They continue to manipulate young minds by exploiting real or perceived injustices and grievances.  Military gains against these groups and the disruption of funding push them to seek new ways to generate resources and to perpetrate high-impact, low-cost attacks.  Conflict and civil unrest, lack of socioeconomic opportunities, freedoms and inclusive democratic processes continue to provide a breeding ground for radicalization and recruitment.  But, let us be very clear.  Nothing justifies terrorism.  No cause, no grievances.

On 13 October, I presented to the General Assembly my report on “restructuring of the United Nations peace and security pillar”.  Together with our international partners, we need to respond early and effectively in the cycle of conflict and radicalization, and invest more in prevention.  The work of the Office of Counter-Terrorism is crucial to this goal, and the Centre plays a very important part in this struggle.

During the high-level debate in September, world leaders were united on the need to mobilize a more effective international response to terrorism.  The Counter-Terrorism Centre has an important role to play in building the capacity of Member States to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  Security strategies should be comprehensive and also include prevention efforts that address root causes, empower women and youth, and respect international human rights laws and standards.

The Centre’s work has addressed a range of important issues, including countering terrorist financing, supporting victims of terrorism, and enhancing human rights compliance in counter-terrorism efforts.  Moreover, the Centre has the capacity to make a real impact on critical issues such as deradicalization efforts, youth engagement and employment, and support for victims of terrorism and their families.

Going forward, one key challenge will be to expand and diversify donor support.  Improving transparency in the selection and funding of projects, as well in the reporting on their impact, will be very important.  I am grateful for the contributions and pledges made by Member States to the Centre.  As Advisory Board members, you have a special responsibility and I count on your support.  Through the wise advice of this Board, I am confident that the Centre will be able to deliver tangible results and make an impact on people’s lives.

The sixth Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in June 2018 will be an opportune moment to reassert our principles and adjust our working methods to better deliver on our priorities in counter-terrorism.  In the lead-up to the Review, I also intend to host a Summit of Chiefs of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States.  The objective is to help forge a new International Counter‑Terrorism Partnership in a spirit of solidarity and trust.

The threat of terrorism is real, complex and transnational.  Our response must be just as serious and shared.  This will be essential to bring perpetrators to justice, support the rights of victims and prevent further attacks.  We have a collective duty to deliver greater security, dignity and opportunity for all.

I once again thank the Advisory Board and Ambassador Al-Mouallimi for your insights and your support.  I look forward to continuing to work together with all of you in the fight against this common scourge.  Thank you very much.

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