His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, fellow Ministers, our eminent Chairman for this session, His Excellency Mr Michael Smith, distinguished guests. New Zealand is delighted to participate in the Secretary-General’s Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism and especially this session on Strengthening Law Enforcement and Capacity-Building Efforts.
It is now ten years since the dreadful terrorist attacks of 9/11 – an event that for New Zealand, like so many countries, led to a refocusing of our own approach to counter-terrorism.
New Zealand has learned a great deal since September 2001. The challenge now is to avoid complacency. While it is true that Al Qaeda is badly disrupted and degraded, new threats have emerged – notably Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al Qaeda-linked and inspired organisations in Africa. The merciless attack on the United Nations compound in Nigeria, demonstrates that terrorism is an evolving challenge.
Successful counter-terrorism ultimately relies on law enforcement by sovereign states within their own borders. International cooperation is also vital – especially the sharing of information – but CT efforts will not succeed unless governments, law enforcement agencies, and judiciaries are committed to enforcing the law. Permissive environments in weak or failing states support the proliferation of terrorism.
The four pillars of the United Nations Global Strategy on Counter‑Terrorism recognise this, and that states should cooperate on capacity building to improve their law enforcement capabilities. New Zealand applauds the excellent work by the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, and UN Agencies, to facilitate capacity building.
New Zealand is thankful that UN agencies, notably the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Terrorism Prevention Branch, the United Nations Counterterrorism Executive Directorate, and the 1540 Experts Committee, have been active in our region – South East Asia and the Pacific. New Zealand has been pleased to support these efforts.
Small states, in particular, are vulnerable to criminal or terrorist groups because of the size and capacity constraints of their civil administrations. With Australia, UN agencies, and fellow members of the Pacific Island Forum, New Zealand has taken steps to further strengthen the Pacific region’s counter-terrorism and law enforcement capacity.
New Zealand’s capacity-building efforts in the Pacific are guided by the Pacific Islands Forum Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which we co-Chair alongside the Forum Secretariat. The Working Group is the primary platform for identification of regional capacity building requirements and coordination of donor assistance on counter-terrorism.
For a number of years, New Zealand has provided financial support for joint UNODC-Forum Secretariat programmes of technical assistance and capacity building in Pacific Island countries, focusing on developing legislation and policy frameworks, and ratification of the universal CT instruments, to assist Pacific Island countries in complying with international obligations stemming from relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
New Zealand itself benefits greatly from our involvement in capacity building in our region because of the opportunities for law enforcement practitioners to share best practice and develop relationships with counterparts in other countries.
Recognising that implementation of obligations under Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1267, 1624 and related resolutions begins at home, New Zealand has also taken steps to improve our domestic counter-terrorism regime.
Since 9/11, New Zealand has established a robust domestic CT framework. New Zealand has aligned its laws and domestic processes with key Security Council Resolutions on counter-terrorism.
New Zealand Government agencies also work actively with faith communities and ethnic minorities to encourage their pull participation in society, and be alert to any warning signs indicating possible isolation and radicalization.
New Zealand has proscribed 17 terrorist groups in addition to those organisations and individuals that are automatically proscribed in New Zealand under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1988 and 1989.Finally, New Zealand is a strong supporter of the United Nations Global Strategy on Counter‑Terrorism and the principles espoused under its four pillars, which guide the development of New Zealand’s approach to counter-terrorism. We will continue in our steadfast efforts to enhance not just our domestic counter-terrorism capabilities, but also our efforts at the regional and international levels, including through better cooperation with the relevant UN bodies and other multilateral and regional organisations.