UN Global Counter-Terrorism strategy: All you need to know



Fri, 04 Aug 2017 - 09:20 GMT


Fri, 04 Aug 2017 - 09:20 GMT

UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force - Photo credit UN

UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force - Photo credit UN

CAIRO – 4 August 2017: Within the framework of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and under the leadership of Egypt, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted on Wednesday Resolution 2370 to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons.

The U.N. Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted on September 8, 2006, serves as a road map to advance international efforts to counter terrorism. All member states of the U.N. General Assembly adopted the strategy, representing the first time for joint action to prevent and combat terrorism.

Under the leadership of Egyptian Ambassador to the U.N. Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, the United Nations Security Council adopted on Wednesday Resolution 2370 to ban supplying terrorism organizations with weapons.

The strategy builds on world leaders’ commitments at the September 2005 Summit and on elements included in then-Secretary General Kofi Anan’s May 2006 report “Uniting Against Terrorism: Recommendations for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy”.

The counter-terrorism strategy is a living document reviewed by the U.N. General Assembly every two years, making it attuned to member states’ priorities. The review also takes into consideration the evolving terrorism landscape, recommendations to address new threats and proposed measures to address terrorism. The last review of the strategy took place in July 2016, when the General Assembly reviewed the implementation of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy over the past decade.

Commitments by member states:

1. To consistently and strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it threatens international peace and security.

2. To take urgent action to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms: by becoming parties and implementing existing international conventions and protocols against terrorism, implementing all General Assembly and Security Council resolutions to eliminate international terrorism and to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and finally, full cooperation with the counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies.

3. To ensure that any measures to counter terrorism must comply with international law, including the Charter of the U.N. and relevant international conventions and protocols, in particular human rights laws, refugee laws and international humanitarian laws.

The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy’s four main pillars:


1. Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism:

While recognizing that there is no excuse or justification for terrorism, this pillar addresses the factors contributing to the spread of terrorism, including prolonged and unresolved conflicts, dehumanization of victims of terrorism, absence of rule of law, violations of human rights, discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalization, and lack of good governance. Under this pillar, member states work endlessly to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2. Measures to prevent and combat terrorism:

Denying terrorists access to the means to carry out their attacks by refraining from organizing, instigating, facilitating, participating in, financing, encouraging or tolerating terrorist activities.

3. Measures to build states’ capacities to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard:

Building the capacity of all states to prevent and combat terrorism and enhance coordination and coherence within the U.N. system in promoting international cooperation in countering terrorism.

4. Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism:

Recognizing that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals, but complementary and mutually reinforcing, and stressing the need to promote and protect the rights of victims of terrorism

Relevant counter-terrorism bodies:

1. The U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism:

Established on June 15, 2017 under General Assembly Resolution 71/291. Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov is serving as the under-Secretary-General of the office since June 21, 2017. The Office of Counter-Terrorism has five main functions: provide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General from across the United Nations system; enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the U.N. Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
strengthen the delivery of U.N. counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to member states; improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for U.N. counter-terrorism efforts; and ensure priority is given to countering terrorism across the U.N. system.

2. The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF):
Established by the Secretary-General in 2005, CTITF consists of 38 international entities and has the mandate to strengthen coordination and coherence of the counter-terrorism efforts of the U.N. system. CTITF organizes its work through working groups and counter-terrorism related projects.

3. The UN Counter-Terrorism Committee:
Through its Executive Directorate, it provides technical assistance to states, upon request, to facilitate the implementation of the international conventions and protocols related to the prevention and suppression of terrorism and relevant United Nations resolutions.

4. The UN Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT):
Launched in 2011 through a voluntary contribution of the Government of Saudi Arabia, UNCCT operates under the U.N. Secretary-General and the umbrella of the Department of Political Affairs. It contributes to the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through CTITF. UNCCT has an advisory board consisting of 22 members, chaired by his Excellency Ambassador Abdallah Yahya A. Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the U.N.


5. The Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism:
Appointed by the Commission on Human Rights in 2005, the Special Rapporteur addresses the role of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism through country-specific work, including country visits, and in thematic reports submitted to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The current Special Rapporteur has put a special focus of his work on victims of terrorism. The current Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism is Mr. Ben Emmerson, Q.C. (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), who assumed his mandate on August 1, 2011. The first Special Rapporteur (August 1, 2005 – July 31, 2011) was Mr. Martin Scheinin (Finland).

6. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons:
Helps states to build their capacities to prevent terrorists from accessing nuclear, chemical or radiological materials, to ensure security at related facilities, and to respond effectively in the event of an attack using such materials.

The General Assembly also coordinates with the following organizations to ensure proper implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy; enhance cooperation with states to help them fully comply with international norms and obligations to combat terrorism, including money-laundering and financing terrorism; and to identify and share best practices to prevent terrorist attacks. These organizations include: the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, including its Terrorism Prevention Branch; the International Monetary Fund; the World Bank; the International Criminal Police Organization; the International Atomic Energy Agency; the World Health Organization; the International Maritime Organization; the World Customs Organization; and the International Civil Aviation Organization.



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