The three-day Second United Nations High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States on countering and preventing terrorism in the age of transformative technologies kicked off today with the overall theme of “Countering and Preventing Terrorism in the Age of Transformative Technologies: Addressing the Challenges of the New Decade.”
Organised by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the High-Level Conference will enable joint efforts among governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and the United Nations to promote understanding of current and emerging threats, share good practices and increase the capacity to address risks and opportunities, ensuring effective, coordinated, and comprehensive efforts across countries, sectors and disciplines, anchored in human rights and the rule of law, to address terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The High-Level Conference also provides a significant and timely opportunity to consider the practical implementation of relevant aspects of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288) and its review resolutions, including Member States’ priorities on human rights, gender equality and engagement with youth and civil society.
Speaking at the Opening Session, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, stated that “counter-terrorism needs to rise to the challenges and opportunities of transformative technologies. COVID-19 has accelerated our dependence on cyberspace. We need to nurture technological innovation -- but also to mitigate its growing risks.”
President of the United Nations General Assembly, Volkan Bozkır, noted that “Although initially we had hoped that the fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus would deter terrorist groups, and lockdowns would restrict the free movement of terrorists, equipment and weapons, it seems that terrorist groups, have quickly adapted to this new landscape.”