Events this year have focused attention on our collective progress over the past decade in combating international terrorism, and stimulated frank assessments of the challenges still to be faced.
Since 2001, we’ve had success in disrupting and dismantling international terrorist networks, and establishing robust legal, normative and institutional frameworks at national and global levels. But the recent attack on UN facilities in Abuja, Nigeria showed the threat terrorism still poses to the values of this organisation, and to the interests of all Member States.
Al Qaeda has been weakened globally; but its affiliates still pose significant threats in several regions. Moreover, terrorist networks have proved adaptable and resilient, shifting tactics, adopting new technologies, and identifying new sources and methods of financing to maintain their operations.
All of which makes effective international cooperation to counter-terrorism as important now as ever.
Security Council Resolutions 1267, 1373, and 1540 and their associated work programmes play vital roles in combating international terrorism. The past year has seen significant developments in the work of all three Committees.
New Zealand hopes the decision in June to separate the 1267 Committee’s Consolidated List into separate designations for the Taliban and Al Qaeda should provide the new 1988 Committee with flexibility to ensure delisting decisions are consistent with realities on the ground, and can complement Afghanistan’s national reconciliation efforts.
Also important were changes to the 1267/1989 Committee’s delisting procedures, including a significant strengthening of the Ombudsperson’s role.
They make it all the more important that the Ombudsperson is sufficiently resourced to carry out this enhanced role, and that Member States provide her their full support, including through the provision of relevant information.
New Zealand hopes that April’s 10-year extension of the 1540 Committee’s mandate will facilitate a longer term approach to supporting national implementation. We welcome the Committee’s increased emphasis on targeted technical assistance; and its efforts to coordinate this with assistance for other relevant national capacity- uilding priorities. This approach is particularly important for small states with limited institutional capacities.
Capacity building is integral to the partnership underpinning international counter-terrorism cooperation. New Zealand participates in a wide-ranging programme of capacity building focused on supporting partners in the Pacific and South and Southeast Asia.
The targeted approach taken by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) in providing technical assistance has helped many states strengthen their counter-terrorism frameworks. New Zealand has partnered with CTED on several such initiatives, supporting workshops in the Pacific and Southeast Asia on cash couriers and preventing terrorist abuse of the non-profit sector, including one in Auckland earlier this month. We’ve also helped fund UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch workshops on law enforcement cooperation.
We also support the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s emphasis on the role of regional cooperation. A recent table-top exercise for Southeast Asian practitioners to support implementation of SCR 1540 and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism is one of a number of practically-focused initiatives with regional partners we have supported in the past few years.
In May, we hosted the 7th annual meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. As the only dedicated regional counter-terrorism forum, the Working Group provides important opportunities to coordinate activities and share best practice. This year it was held back-to-back with the Pacific’s second Regional Counter-Terrorism Exercise, ‘Ready Pasifika II’.
Two other recent developments have potential consequences for all three Committees.
New Zealand welcomes Saudi Arabia’s generosity in funding a UN Centre for Counter-Terrorism to support international counter-terrorism cooperation. Once established and fully integrated into the UN’s counter-terrorism architecture, it promises to further strengthen UN counter-terrorism capacities in key areas.
New Zealand is also a founding member of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) launched in September. That Forum should further boost international counter-terrorism capacity building efforts, complementing work underway within UN frameworks, particularly CTED. We are pleased that Indonesia and Australia will co-chair a GCTF South East Asia Working Group, ensuring the Forum has a truly global focus.
We can look back over the past decade with a degree of satisfaction at what has been achieved - and, more importantly, what has been prevented. But our work is far from complete; and with considerable challenges ahead, New Zealand is committed to working with the Council, its Committees, and with all Member States to strengthen our collective resilience and to build the capacities of all states to prevent, disrupt and bring to justice perpetrators of terrorist acts.