Mr President, last September we met to take stock of our collective efforts to combat international terrorism, a decade on from the 9/11 attacks. It was clear then that our efforts had met with considerable success. Progress had been made in disrupting and dismantling international terrorist networks, and in establishing robust legal, policy and institutional frameworks at national and global levels. Our understanding of what was required effectively to prevent and combat international terrorism had also evolved considerably.
But it's clear that terrorism still poses a serious threat to the international community. While Al Qaeda has been considerably weakened, the emergence and growth of regional offshoots, notably in the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, is of particular concern. Terrorist networks have proved remarkably adaptable and resilient, changing tactics, adopting new technologies, and identifying new sources and methods of financing to maintain their operations. Terrorist attacks continue claim lives, and to sow fear, hatred and instability in communities around the world. In short: there is no room for complacency.
The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, now six years old, remains our core framework for confronting this challenge; and our discussions this week have confirmed that the global consensus around this Strategy, and our shared resolve to effectively implement it, remain as strong as ever.
Mr President, I make five specific points regarding the resolution before us.
First, it is clearly in all our interests to ensure that the activities of UN counter-terrorism bodies in support of the Strategy’s implementation are well integrated. We therefore welcome the call for the Secretary-General to develop further his proposal to appoint a single UN counter-terrorism coordinator; and encourage the Secretariat to present a fully developed proposal as soon as possible, so that final agreement can be reached in a timely manner.
Secondly, we welcome the resolution’s acknowledgement of the important complementary work being undertaken by other international and regional organisations and forums in supporting the Strategy’s implementation. New Zealand is an active participant in several of these, including the work of the Pacific Islands Forum and our partnership with ASEAN, as well as the recently established Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. The Global Counter-Terrorism Forum offers potential to be a significant “force multiplier” for UN capacity-building efforts, helping to mobilise resources and strengthen the provision of assistance in many regions affected by terrorism. We therefore welcome the call for enhanced cooperation and coordination between such forums and the UN system.
Thirdly, the past two years have provided further demonstrations of the persistent link between terrorism and other security threats, including transnational crime, armed conflict and state fragility. Where these threats converge, they have the potential to pose serious challenges to national and international security. We urge that, over the coming biennium, the UN and Member States should give greater attention to achieving better and more effective integration of our responses to these often interlinked threats.
Fourthly, we echo the calls from other states for the full, balanced and effective implementation of the Strategy across all four pillars. Our collective understanding of how to address the conditions conducive to terrorism, and measures to prevent and counter the spread of violent extremism, has advanced significantly in the past few years; and we encourage further concerted efforts in this area in the coming biennium.
We also welcome recent steps to ensure the UN’s Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions regime is accurate and effectively targeted, particularly through the appointment of the 1267 Committee Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson has already had a significant, positive impact on the Committee’s work; but her effectiveness is ultimately determined by the cooperation and support received from Member States, including through the provision of relevant information. New Zealand is one of several countries to have reached an understanding with her office regarding the criteria by which it would consider requests for such information.
Finally, Mr President, New Zealand urges that this United Nations continue its vital work in strengthening national and regional capacities to prevent and combat terrorism. Capacity building initiatives are integral to the partnership underpinning international counter-terrorism cooperation. New Zealand has been pleased to partner with UN counter-terrorism entities on a number of these initiatives, in areas such as preventing terrorist financing through the use of cash couriers and through the non-profit sector, and strengthening criminal justice and law enforcement capacities and cooperation.
Mr President -
Our discussions today send a strong signal that the international consensus against terrorism remains strong. But they also serve as a timely reminder of the significant tasks that remain. New Zealand is committed to playing its part in efforts to strengthen our collective resilience, and to build the capacities of all states to disrupt terrorist networks, prevent terrorist acts, and to bring perpetrators to justice.
Those who plan and perpetrate terrorism must know that the international community stands resolved to resist and prevent their crimes; that their funding will be intercepted; that their networks will be disrupted and destroyed; and that they will be caught and punished for their attacks on the innocent. Above all, they must know that they will not succeed in their plots and their plans.