Strong cooperation among counter-terrorism committees vital for combatting growing global scourge, speakers stress as subsidiary body chairs brief Security Council.
The Security Council heard the annual briefing from the chairs of its three counter-terrorism Committees today, as members stressed the importance of cooperation among the three bodies to mount a united front against the growing global scourge.
Trine Heimerback (Norway), Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, pointed out that the most striking development of the period under review was the emergence of Africa as the region most affected by terrorism, and in which the largest numbers of casualties inflicted by groups affiliated to those designated under the 1267 sanctions regime occurred.
In some regions, especially in parts of West and East Africa, the affiliates of both groups displayed gains in supporters and territory under threat, as well as growing capabilities in fundraising and weapons, she said. Highlighting the evolving threat that ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and their affiliates pose to international peace and security, she encouraged Member States to actively contribute to making the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List updated and relevant and to deploy efforts to fully implement the sanctions measures against listed individuals and entities within their jurisdiction.
Ali Cherif (Tunisia), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) concerning counter-terrorism, said his body has continued to engage with Member States, United Nations entities, international and regional organizations, academia, and civil society organizations to address terrorist threats and challenges.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) has conducted virtual components of 13 hybrid assessment visits this year, bringing the total number since 2005 to 181, and visited States to 117, he said. In January, the Tunisian presidency launched the process of commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Council’s adoption of resolution 1373 (2001) and establishment of the Committee, with a ministerial debate and adoption of a Security Council presidential statement.
Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramirez (Mexico), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), reported that although States have made significant progress towards full implementation of the resolution, this remains a long-term task, requiring enhanced cooperation among the three Committees. While in 2019 the Committee began a comprehensive review on the status of implementing the resolution, he observed that several planned activities were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with delays in scheduling comprehensive review-related activities.
Mr. De la Fuente Ramirez also spoke on behalf of the Chairs of those three Committees, noting that despite the pandemic, the bodies continued to cooperate and coordinate their work to ensure an effective, efficient approach to counter-terrorism and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors.
Conscious that terrorist groups and their supporters are ready to commit extreme violence on a wide scale, he highlighted the importance of considering the potentially catastrophic humanitarian, economic, social and political consequences if nuclear, chemical or biological weapons fall into the hands of non-State actors, particularly terrorists. In that regard, he recalled relevant Council resolutions that reiterate the need to enhance ongoing cooperation among those Committees.
In the ensuing discussion, Viet Nam’s representative observed that there are clear links between the work of the three Committees and the frameworks under relevant resolutions in combatting terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, it is crucial to continue close cooperation and coordination among the Committees to effectively respond to the threat of those weapons falling into the hands of non-State actors, including terrorist groups. As a developing country with limited resources, Viet Nam attaches great importance to providing Member States with technical assistance and capacity-building so they can fully and effectively implement Council resolutions on counter-terrorism and proliferation, he said.
Niger’s delegate said that countries in the Sahel and the Lake Basin region have become the epicentre of terrorist activity, adding that the speed with which the terrorist threat has been exported from the Middle East to Africa demonstrates the adaptive capacity of global terrorist organizations. The fight against terrorism requires a global approach that considers the social, economic and political factors which drive people to extremism and radicalism. If ISIL/Da’esh could be defeated in Iraq and Syria, it could just as well be defeated in the Sahel, he declared, stressing the need for the same level of international commitment and mobilization.
The representative of the Russian Federation was among delegates that expressed concern about ISIL/Da’esh’s wing in Afghanistan, warning that it remains a key factor in the destabilization of that country. Its expanding ideological, propagandistic and recruitment activities, which skilfully deploy information and communications technology, pose a threat to Central Asia.
Ireland’s delegate said counter-terrorism responses cannot be solely security-driven. They must also be inclusive, gender-responsive and based on whole-of-society approaches grounded in respect for human rights. Efforts to combat terrorism should never serve as a pretext for human rights violations, he stressed.
The representative of the United States called for strengthened cooperation between the 1373 and 1540 Committees, adding that the upcoming mandate renewal of the latter will offer an opportunity to enhance its functionality and credibility in empowering experts and to enhance areas of coordination between Committees. Moreover, the 1540 Committee must take steps to respond to rapid advances in science, which could be deployed by non-State actors for weapons of mass destruction-related purposes.
Also speaking today were representatives of Kenya, China, Tunisia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Norway, Mexico, France, Estonia, United Kingdom and India.
The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 4:48 p.m.