All too often we are reminded that terrorism continues to inflict pain and suffering on people all over the world. Hardly a week goes by without an act of terrorism taking place somewhere in the world, indiscriminately affecting innocent people, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Countering this scourge is in the interest of all nations and the issue has been on the agenda of the United Nations for decades.
Eighteen universal instruments (fourteen instruments and four amendments) against international terrorism have been elaborated within the framework of the United Nations system relating to specific terrorist activities. Member States, through the General Assembly, have been increasingly coordinating their counter-terrorism efforts and continuing their legal norm-setting work. The Security Council has also been active in countering terrorism through resolutions and by establishing several subsidiary bodies. At the same time a number of programmes, offices and agencies of the United Nations system have been engaged in specific activities against terrorism, further assisting Member States in their counter-terrorism efforts.
To consolidate and enhance these activities, Member States in September 2006 embarked upon a new phase in their counter-terrorism efforts by agreeing on a global strategy to counter terrorism. The Strategy marks the first time that all Member States of the United Nations have agreed to a common strategic and operational framework to fight terrorism. The Strategy forms a basis for a concrete plan of action: to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; to prevent and combat terrorism; to take measures to build state capacity to fight terrorism; to strengthen the role of the United Nations in combating terrorism; and to ensure the respect of human rights while countering terrorism. The Strategy builds on the unique consensus achieved by world leaders at their 2005 September Summit to condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.