22 February 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by H.E. Ms Joanne Adamson, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Informal Meeting on UN Counter-Terrorism Architecture Reform
– Check against delivery –
Excellencies, dear colleagues,
We thank [SG Guterres / USG Feltman – TBD] for convening this informal meeting and for presenting the Secretary-General’s/your proposal for strengthening the UN CT architecture. I am speaking on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
Mr. [Secretary-General / Under Secretary-General],
Terrorism, and the violent extremism that feeds it, is one of the greatest threats we collectively face. We are all too familiar with the extent of the violence – from the carnage of Da’esh in Syria and Iraq and Al Shabaab in the Horn of Africa, to the devastating attacks on the streets of Europe – in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. We all bear the cost. We all need to act.
The UN CT architecture has emerged over time in gradual layers, without a clear strategic vision. It reflects how member states’ priorities and initiatives have developed over time: responses to Chapter 7 mandates from the Council; the consensus of General Assembly, as expressed through the Global CT Strategy; the urgent need for technical and programming capacities; and most recently, the initiative of the last Secretary-General to prevent, not just counter – as expressed through the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
These were all necessary initiatives – but they are not sufficient for the threat we face. We need a better UN on counter-terrorism and preventing violent extremism: better coherence and leadership on the strategic challenges we face; better engagement with states at senior level on the need to act; and of course better coordination and coherence at policy and capacity-building levels. First of all, internally, amongst the various UN entities, including CTED and those entities that can best help address prevention, like UNDP, UNODC, and the UN field offices. And we also need better external coordination between the UN and other international organizations and forums, like the Global Counterterrorism Forum: the UN doesn’t have to and shouldn’t go at it alone. Greater external coordination will also enhance the CT and PVE profile of the UN in the outside world and amongst citizens.
That is why the EU and its members welcome the proposal of the Secretary-General to strengthen the UN CT architecture, both by creating a new USG implementing in a balanced manner all pillars of the Global CT Strategy, and by reforming some of the current offices into a more strategic entity. This should count as a necessary first step of a process aiming at improving the UN’s role and impact in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism.
Mr. [Secretary-General / Under Secretary General],
The UN has always held as a principle that preventing crisis, violence and political instability is more effective than countering it after the fact.
We welcome that the Secretary-General has put prevention at the heart of his political agenda for the entire UN. Prevention is better and cheaper than cure. That also goes for violent extremism.
The EU and its member states therefore strongly support the elements of your proposal for the new USG and office to also address PVE, as a core part of their responsibility for implementation of the whole GCTS. Working under pillars 1 and 4 of the GCTS on conditions conducive and human rights and the rule of law, a PVE approach at the UN can unlock resources, expertise and impact around the world that have been sorely lacking from much of the UN’s approach to counter-terrorism in the last decade.
It bears repeating that preventing violent extremism has been welcomed as an initiative by the General Assembly. We fully endorse efforts by the UN to react to this agenda – and to the urgent terrorist threats so many of us face – by embedding PVE to this new office. Let us be clear: a UN approach to counter-terrorism that neglects PVE, as captured by pillars 1 and 4 of the GCTS, would be a failure.
Mr. [Secretary-General / Under Secretary General],
Strengthening the UN ability to address CT and PVE is for the benefit of the entire UN membership. It is about constructive engagement with and support to all UN member states.
A new structure alone will not change the world. The terrorist threats we face are adaptive, and terrorists demonstrated their ability to survive under immense pressure. The fight ahead is a long one. Similarly, the violent extremist narratives that drive terrorism will only be fully undermined and defeated when the conditions that drive them are addressed. That means a comprehensive approach, often outside the CT sphere. In that regard, we need to pay specific attention to involvement of youth, women, local communities, and victims of terrorism in implementing a comprehensive agenda.
As UN members we must be committed, but also realistic and determined in our battle to combat terrorism. Consensual action this year to reform our UN expertise and resources is a good first step to get the UN ‘ahead of the curve’. The EU supports this and we stand ready to discuss and to work with the UN membership to make the newly proposed office a success.
I thank you, Mr. [Secretary-General / Under Secretary-General].
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