UN Security Council: Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts
Security Council Statement, as delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations.
Thank you Mr President.
Let me congratulate you Secretary Lew for convening this meeting today of so many finance ministers and I acknowledge the presence of so many of your colleagues in the room today. Sadly the New Zealand Minister of Finance was not able to join you, but he does send his greetings and his support for the work done today.
ISIL or Da’esh is one of the gravest threats we have known purposes and principles of the United Nations. Over the past year we have watched in horror as ISIL and Al Qaida have conducted attacks against innocent civilians around the world. There’s been a ripple effect of fear and intolerance that has gone further.
The Security Council’s message in today’s resolution is simple: the United Nations membership, the whole membership, must work more actively to disrupt ISIL, Al Qaida and associated terrorist groups.
We are pleased that this resolution takes a more comprehensive approach to the issue of countering ISIL. We believe that it is essential that when the Council considers this threat it looks at the whole threat posed by these groups and must consider it beyond the narrower prism of the sanctions regime which has sometimes been the only focus, particularly of the committee that I chair.
That is why we regard the new element in the Resolution today, which calls for a comprehensive report by the Secretary General, a strategic level report, as particularly important. It should ensure that the Council does have that totality of understanding when it takes decisions affecting ISIL.
Fundamentally, we need to deny ISIL, Al Qaida and their affiliates the resources to operate – the oxygen that fuels the fire. The targeting of terrorist financing has never been more important. As I have previously reported as Chair of the 1267 Sanctions Committee, ISIL generates revenue internally and has diverse funding sources.
The non-traditional sources of terrorist financing – whether fund-raising through social media, organised trade in oil and antiquities, or self-funded foreign terrorist fighters – can be difficult to disrupt without coordination of efforts at all levels. This includes coordination with the private sector and solid financial intelligence. We need to attack all of the financial flows, all of the time.
Member States are obligated to prevent and criminalise terrorist financing. The Financial Action Task Force provides essential expertise and support in these areas, in what is now a global standard. It is worrying therefore, as the President of the FATF has reminded us, that there are gaps in the legal effectiveness of some Member States’ regimes.
We are not talking here about the numbers of laws enacted or prosecutions, but how effective overall systems are to prevent, detect and stop terrorist financing. Our challenge is to operationalise the sanctions regime and obligations we have on paper. This requires political will and prioritisation, and a greater practical focus on implementation, compliance and follow-up.
There is significant but unrealised potential in the Sanctions List. We have the measures, but need the wider UN membership to provide the listings. While there are existing listings relating to ISIL, Al Qaida and their leaders, there is a need to update the list to reflect the threat, as stated in Resolution 2249.
We have to be better at targeting those who facilitate funding and support, and are within our grasp. The web of funding streams and support extends well beyond the territory that ISIL controls, including to a growing list of affiliates. The List needs to be an operational instrument, not a policy statement.
As a result of today’s Resolution, the List’s annual review now has more teeth, with incentives for States to cooperate and remain engaged. Delisting as a possible consequence of Member States not providing up-to-date information is now a reality.
As Chair, New Zealand is committed to openness and engagement with the wider UN membership. This is for its own sake and to enable greater understanding, support and implementation. This is an important point because this regime will not work if Member States do not cooperate with it. And as Chair, I’d have to say frankly, there are aspects of the way the regime operates that have concerned me. The Committee’s rules and practices can in my view, compromise the effectiveness of the very regime we are seeking to implement. While consensus can be a strength, to require unanimity before any action can be taken on important matters, such as the investigation of allegations of non-compliance, is a major weakness.
It politicises the regime and arguably goes beyond the Charter's provisions on decision-making. In our view, the Council needs to have a good look at this aspect of the regime.
As Chair, we want to be practical about sanctions exemptions requests – such as for basic expenses and travel bans – and encourage Members to utilise them and work closely with the Committee.
We are pleased therefore that today’s resolution provides explicitly for the granting of exemptions for asset freeze provisions. This will allow the regime to be applied practically and will strengthen rather than weaken the regime.
Mr President, The Ombudsperson’s Office is essential to the effectiveness and support of the regime. It is a real success story. It is vital to demonstrate due process requirements are being fulfilled. New Zealand as Chair, like others, has put significant effort into managing the successful transition to our new Ombudsperson, Ms Catherine Marchi-Uhel.
However, as the prior and first Ombudsperson reported, however, there are still shortfalls in the Office’s arrangements. We hope the Secretariat will act on the expression of will in today’s resolution, to ensure the necessary arrangements to carry out the Ombudsperson’s mandate in an an effective and independent manner.
We as a Council need also to ensure that the Monitoring Team and the Security Council Affairs Division are properly resourced to carry out the tasks that have been assigned to them.
We should never allow the threat posed by ISIL and Al Qaida to become normalised, by the repetition of UN-speak, or the tyranny of distance from so many of our countries. The atrocities and deprivations committed by ISIL, Al Qaida and associated groups are very real and hurt us all.
The sanctions regime is a living instrument, which we must regularly adapt. Today’s Resolution is just that, an adaptation and a strengthening of the regime to counter the growing threat of ISIL.