General Assembly approves creation of new UN Counter-Terrorism Office

Peter Thomson (left), President of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly. At his side is Movses Abelian, Assistant Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

15 June 2017 – The General Assembly today approved the establishment of a new United Nations office to help Member States implement the Organization's global counter-terrorism strategy.

Adopting a consensus resolution, the 193-nation body also welcomed Secretary-General António Guterres' initiative to transfer relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and into the new United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

As a result, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), currently in DPA, will be transferred to the new office, together with their existing staff and all associated regular and extra-budgetary resources. The new Office would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General.

In his report on this issue to the Assembly, the Secretary-General proposed that the new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

According to the report, the Office would have five main functions:

  1. provide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General from across the United Nations system;
  2. enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
  3. strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States;
  4. improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and
  5. ensure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy.

“The Secretary-General considers counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism to be one of the highest priorities of the United Nations to address a growing threat to international peace and security,” said his Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement issued just after the Assembly's action.

“He therefore hopes that this reform of the UN Counter-Terrorism architecture will contribute to the UN's broader efforts to promote conflict prevention, sustainable peace and development,” the Spokesman said.

For his part, General Assembly President Peter Thomson said “this resolution will enhance the United Nations' capability to assist Member States in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy across its four pillars by ensuring greater coordination and coherence across the UN system, and by improving visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations' counter-terrorism efforts.”


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