SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO CONFERENCE EXAMINING COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICIES, URGES ‘FOCUS ON PEOPLE’, AS ISSUE IS ABOUT HUMAN SUFFERING, NOT STATISTICS

22 January 2009
SG/SM/12059-SOC/CP/344

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO CONFERENCE EXAMINING COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICIES, URGES ‘FOCUS ON PEOPLE’, AS ISSUE IS ABOUT HUMAN SUFFERING, NOT STATISTICS

22 January 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12059
SOC/CP/344
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO CONFERENCE EXAMINING COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICIES,


URGES ‘FOCUS ON PEOPLE’, AS ISSUE IS ABOUT HUMAN SUFFERING, NOT STATISTICS


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) Conference on Innovative Policies to Advance Security Governance, delivered by David Veness, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Safety and Security, in New York, 22 January:


It is a great pleasure to greet the participants in this important international conference.  I commend the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) for focusing attention on a range of critical challenges relating to security governance.


The global security agenda has broadened.  Where once security was viewed primarily through a military lens, today it is also understood to encompass climate change, global health, disarmament and the subject you will be discussing today, counter-terrorism.  These issues affect people in all countries, and we need common action by all to resolve them.


The international response to counter-terrorism received an unprecedented boost in 2006 when the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the first comprehensive, collective and internationally approved framework for tackling the problem ever adopted by all 192 United Nations Member States.


The Strategy rests on a broadened concept of security.  It identifies four pillars for action: addressing conditions that are conducive to terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building the capacity of States; and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.  The Strategy underlines the multidimensional nature of the threat and the need for broad collaboration in response.


We have learned a great deal over the past two years in carrying out the Strategy.  We know we have to be more innovative in developing tools to address the challenge.  We need a calibrated mix of social, political, economic, legal and, in some cases, military responses.  And the international community has to undertake all of these efforts in an integrated manner.


We also need to make better use of our collective strengths and look at the comparative advantage that all relevant actors can bring to the table.  For example, different parts of the United Nations system are well versed in helping to build State capacity.  At the same time, regional and subregional organizations can contribute local knowledge, established relationships and leverage on the ground.


Counter-terrorism is not only the domain of States.  Civil society actors can help build a culture of anti-terrorism by reaching out to communities and striving to de-legitimize the use of violence to pursue political goals.


The private sector is also a key player, for example in the area of biosecurity, where industry and professional organizations can help in norm setting and standardization.


And academic institutions can help us to better understand terrorism.


As you think through the issues in the course of this meeting, I hope you will keep your focus on people.  As Ingrid Betancourt said during last year’s terrorism victims symposium here at Headquarters: “When we talk about victims of terrorism, we are talking about human suffering.  It is not statistics.  We are not numbers; we are people who suffer.”


Let us also be guided by an openness to change.  What we have learned from our work in counter-terrorism is that we must bring in new partners and be innovative in the way we tackle problems.  We must apply this insight to the institutions and policies we are developing to promote security governance in other arenas.


Thank you again for your commitment to this important, wide-ranging agenda.  Please accept my best wishes for a productive discussion.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.