Enhanced Engagement among United Nations Counter-Terrorism Entities Can Have ‘Multiplier Effect’, Security Council Told in Briefings

SC/11928
16 June 2015
7463rd Meeting* (PM)

Enhanced Engagement among United Nations Counter-Terrorism Entities Can Have ‘Multiplier Effect’, Security Council Told in Briefings

Exploiting the opportunities for further engagement among the committees established to counter terrorism, address the Al-Qaida threat and halt proliferation of mass destruction weapons would lead to a “multiplier effect” in the delivery of results, those bodies’ Chairs told the Security Council today.

“It should be possible to achieve these improved results while maintaining respect for the independence of the respective expert groups and their mandates,” Román Oyarzun Marchesi (Spain) said, delivering a joint statement.

Indeed, terrorism and the risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of non-State actors underlined the need for “close and effective” cooperation among the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001), or Counter-Terrorism Committee, as well as the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and the 1540 Committee concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he said.  With that in mind, they continued joint outreach; engagement with international, regional and subregional groups; and information exchange.

Speaking next as Chair of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, Gerard van Bohemen (New Zealand) said the human cost of attacks by Al-Qaida and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was immense and tragic, not only in Iraq and Syria, but also in parts of Nigeria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia, and further afield.  In response, the Council had adopted various resolutions expanding the work of the Committee and Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, for example, in relation to oil and financing.  The Monitoring Team’s workload continued to increase, presenting a challenge for its resourcing.

Raimonda Murmokaité (Lithuania), Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, said the entity’s goal this year had been to adopt measures to “swiftly and responsibly” leverage the unique store of evidence to facilitate useful and sustainable technical assistance where and when needed.  For the first time, it had adopted a risk-based approach where appropriate, aimed at facilitating capacity-building tailored to the needs of each Member State, which in turn should allow for a response based on particular national security concerns rather than on a fixed template with little relevance.  It also had reinforced its direct outreach to States.

Taking the floor as Chair of the 1540 Committee, Mr. Oyarzun Marchesi said no State was exempt from making every effort to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  To date, 174 countries, or about 90 per cent of Member States, had reported on measures they had taken to implement the resolution.  But, given the “necessarily dynamic nature” of compliance, regular reporting and updating was important.  One step that could be taken at the national level was to develop a voluntary national implementation plan as encouraged by resolution 1977 (2011).  The Committee was keen to enhance the role of national points of contact and improve the system of assistance for State capacity-building, he said.

In the ensuing debate, speakers pointed to yesterday’s attack in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena as a stark reminder of the need for global cooperation in the fight to eradicate terrorism.  Several expressed concern at the speed with which the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS), Al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram and others were using information technologies to spread their rhetoric.

In that context, the representative of the Russian Federation voiced support for expanding the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Executive Directorate in curbing the use of such technologies, as well as for staunching the illegal trade in oil, metals and cultural artefacts, which provided terrorist funding.

Others said it was essential to keep the sanctions list updated by constantly checking requests for delisting and listing submitted to the Ombudsperson.  In turn, France’s delegate said the 1267 Committee must take those requests seriously, as violations of the sanctions regime harmed its clout.  The delisting mechanism also must respect the fundamental freedoms of listed persons.

Many speakers looked forward to the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s special meeting in July in Madrid on stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  It was expected to produce a set of strategies for guiding State efforts. 

In the area of non-proliferation, several expressed support for the 2016 comprehensive review of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), which they said should identify shortcomings, including in State reporting and sharing of effective practices.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Venezuela, Chad, Angola, United Kingdom, Nigeria, United States, Jordan, China, Chile, and Malaysia.

The meeting began at 4:35 p.m. and ended at 6:35 p.m.

Briefings

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) delivered a joint statement on behalf of the three committees established pursuant to resolutions 1373 (2001), 1540 (2004), 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011).  Terrorism and the risk posed by weapons of mass destruction proliferation by non-State actors remained a serious threat, he said, emphasizing the importance of close and effective cooperation among the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004).

Describing cooperation on outreach activities, he said that since November 2014, all three expert groups had been represented at more than a dozen workshops and outreach events.  In April, the Monitoring Team and the 1540 experts joined the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in its follow-up visit to Uzbekistan.  Joint participation in country visits continued to enhance cooperation and information exchange among the three.  He noted that the contact point in the Caribbean for the Executive Directorate and the 1540 expert group had submitted a progress report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee on 18 December 2014.

More broadly, he said the Executive Directorate and the 1267 Monitoring Team continued to cooperate on anti-money-laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.  The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force continued to provide a platform for enhanced cooperation among the three expert groups, as well as with the 30 or so United Nations organizations, agencies and programmes dealing with counter-terrorism.  In addition, information exchange among the expert groups was regularly carried out.  As a new step, they had shared their calendars and discussed how to improve country visits.  The Executive Directorate and the Monitoring Team routinely relied on each other’s reports, he said, citing the Directorate’s 18 February report, while the groups continued to hold joint meetings.

Going forward, he said fully exploiting the opportunities for further synergies among the committees would lead to a “multiplier effect” in the delivery of results.  “It should be possible to achieve these improved results while maintaining respect for the independence of the respective expert groups and their mandates,” he said.

GERARD JACOBUS VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities, said that, since the prior Chair’s last briefing in May 2014, a “dramatic evolution” of threats posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates included rapid territorial gains and brutal tactics used by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Da’esh, and the Al-Nusra Front.  The presence of foreign terrorist fighters and the growing influence of Al-Qaida associates in Libya had exacerbated those threats, as had a marked increase in ISIL’s use of digital media to promote its messages to shock and intimidate and to recruit others to its cause.

The human cost was immense and tragic, not only in Iraq and Syria but also in Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.  In response to those evolving threats, the Council had adopted various resolutions expanding the work of the Committee and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, for example, in relation to oil and financing.  The team, which had submitted reports to the Committee on issues related to terrorist groups and to foreign fighters joining them, had seen its workload increase, posing a challenge for its resourcing, he said, pointing out that between June 2014 and May 2015, 41 individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida had been designated, compared with 6 during the previous year.

Designations should be strategic, targeted and implementable because the sanctions list was a “living document” that needed to be kept up-to-date, relevant, fair and transparent, he said.  In order to ensure that, the Committee conducted a triennial review to consider listings and reviewed delisting requests submitted to the independent Office of the Ombudsperson by designated individuals and entities.  During the reporting period, 6 individuals and entities had been delisted and 3 retained, with 10 such requests currently at various stages of consideration.  The Monitoring Team also regularly updated the list based on information provided by Member States, he said, encouraging States to continue to do so.  The level of reporting on resolution 2199 (2015) on the financing of terrorists from the oil trade had so far been insufficient, he continued, urging Member States to submit reports as soon as possible.  Future activities included the Monitoring Team’s presentation of reports on the impact of that resolution and on Libya, he concluded.

RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania), Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, said the panel had revitalized the way in which it worked in order to maximize the speed and effectiveness of its responses to new and urgent challenges.  Over its 13-year existence, the Committee and its Executive Directorate had accumulated a vast database of information and analysis about the implementation of counter-terrorism measures in all Member States.  Since 2005, the Committee had visited more than half the membership and many Member States more than once, which had enabled it to track the progress of implementation over time.  In its recent visits, the Committee had also been able to address measures related to the implementation of resolution 2178 (2014) in order to gain a better understanding of the practical measures undertaken by Member States to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  Those onsite assessments, especially in the most affected regions, had proven to be of great value to the Committee in carrying out its mandate.

He said the Committee’s goal this year was to adopt measures to swiftly and responsibly leverage and utilize the unique store of evidence to facilitate useful and sustainable technical assistance where and when needed.  To that end, it had for the first time adopted a risk-based approach where appropriate, aimed at facilitating capacity-building tailored to the needs of each Member State, which should develop a response based on its particular national security concerns rather than on a fixed template with little relevance.  The Committee had also been reinforcing its direct outreach to Member States and consistently recalled the position of the Council that all measures to combat terrorism must comply with international law.  The Committee was taking steps to communicate more effectively to the wider membership the outcomes of its dialogues with Member States, international and regional organizations and other stakeholders.

The Committee recognized that its effectiveness rested not just on what was done but when it was done, he said.  To that end, it had been implementing measures to act more rapidly in its dialogue with Member States, and thus improve its responsiveness to their needs, without sacrificing the quality of that dialogue or the opportunity for States to consider carefully their responses.  The Committee would continue to take the necessary measures to ensure a practical, responsive and dynamic approach to its dialogue with all Member States, with a view to ensuring the effective implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014).

Statement

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said that he was convinced that the fight against terrorism should take place in the context of international cooperation.  With terrorism in Africa and the Middle East posing a serious threat to the maintenance of international peace and security, it was important to implement countermeasures.  In defeating terrorism, particularly preventing non-State actors from becoming terrorists, the Council must take strong action and the international community must overcome the root causes of the scourge.  A systematic response was needed to neutralize terrorism, for which the Council’s sanctions committees were important tools.  He also highlighted the important role of the Ombudsperson mechanism and drew attention to the upcoming special meeting in Madrid on ways to stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, including through adoption of a strong measure. 

He also made some suggestions to the process of the comprehensive review on resolution 1540 (2004), including incorporating intergovernmental discussions in the General Assembly into its outcome and expanding outreach activities.  Elimination of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, was the best guarantee of their non-proliferation.

Briefing

Taking the floor again, Mr. OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), in his capacity as Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), said that since the last report, the Committee submitted its 2014 annual review of implementation and its programme of work for 2015.  Resolution 1540 (2004) was a preventive one.  The potentially devastating effects of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons proliferating to non-State actors, and possibly to terrorists, could have catastrophic humanitarian, economic and political consequences.  No State was exempt from making every effort to prevent proliferation of those weapons, and an overwhelming majority had shown their commitment.  To date, 174 countries, or about 90 per cent of United Nations Member States, had reported on the measures they had taken to implement the resolution.  But reporting once was not enough, given the necessarily dynamic nature of compliance measures and activities.  Regular reporting and updating were important.  One effective practical step at the national level could be the development of a voluntary national implementation plan, as encouraged by resolution 1977 (2011).

The Committee was also keen to enhance the role of national points of contact, as it sought to develop them into a “living network”, he said, noting its development of a syllabus for training national points of contact so as to expand the practice regionally, with Asia and Latin America likely to be the first regions to participate.  One priority area for the Committee was to improve the system of assistance for States’ capacity-building, and it worked with international and regional organizations to help States articulate their assistance needs.  The Committee and its Group of Experts had also maintained the momentum of outreach events, with a priority being direct engagement with States through visits and national round tables.  A particular effort had been made to engage the remaining 19 non-reporting States.  Ways were also being sought to make better use of social media and other communication means.

Turning to the comprehensive review of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), to be concluded before December 2016, the Committee had agreed on the modalities for the review, which followed four key strands of work.  First, a new review was intended to identify the key trends in implementation since the 2009 review.  It should identify shortcomings in the current system of data collection, storage, retrieval and presentation, including in reporting by States and sharing of effective practices.  The review should also analyze the Committee’s role in facilitating matchmaking and improvements to bring about the prompt delivery of assistance.  The process should also explore ways to improve its collaboration with directly related international organizations, and examine the Committee’s outreach to States and civil society, including academia, industry, professional associations and parliamentarians.  The Committee was developing a work schedule for the review to meet the deadline for submission of its report to the Council.

Statements

BANTE MANGARAL (Chad) underscored the need to settle conflicts, destroy terrorist sanctuaries and curb arms to terrorist groups, recalling that three deadly attacks had taken place recently in his country’s capital.  The Council should take urgent measures against the illicit provision of arms to non-State and terrorist groups.  He welcomed the adoption of resolutions, including 2171 (2014) and 2199 (2015), and looked forward to the report on Libya, urging the continued listing of individuals and entities on the sanctions list.  The 1373 Committee should focus on managing and controlling borders and continue to carry out country visits.  On the 1540 Committee, he noted that 90 per cent of States had reported on measures to implement resolution, encouraging the Committee to strengthen its national contact points and increase technical assistance to States, as well as country visits.  He also welcomed the shared point of contact in the Caribbean between the Executive Directorate and 1540 expert group.

JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola) said global efforts were needed to better counter terrorism, stressing that it was spreading in Africa, a “disturbing” situation.  The Council had expanded the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, he said, citing its reporting on oil and the financing of terrorism, and on foreign terrorist fighters.  The 1267 and 1989 Committee on Al-Qaida had increased the listing of individuals and entities on the sanctions list.  Listings should be targeted, implementable and focused on those that could be disrupted.  Global, regional and subregional cooperation should be enhanced and creative ways devised for defeating the terrorist threat.  He shared concerns over the end of the mandate for the Ombudsperson and the Monitoring Team Coordinator, expressing hope that the “change of guards” would take place in a smooth manner.  He supported the Council’s efforts to foster closer cooperation among the three committees, their expert groups, and between specialized counter-terrorism agencies.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said that a recent attack on tourists in Egypt demonstrated the fundamental challenge of terrorism to stability and development.  He commended the work of the 1373 Committee on analysing the threat of foreign terrorist fighters.  As for the Al-Qaida Committee, all States needed to fulfil their obligations.  He commended the recent independent report by the Monitoring Group on the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and stressed the important role of the Ombudsperson to ensure a fair procedure.  As for the 1540 Committee, non-State actors obtaining weapons of mass destruction was a “nightmare” scenario.  Despite the good work of the Group of Experts and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, more needed to be done.  The 19 non-reporting States should submit their initial reports.  He welcomed the growing cooperation among the three committees, noting that when resources were limited, joint effort was necessary.

MARTIN SENKOM ADAMU (Nigeria) said that the Counter-Terrorism Committee took a wide range of action to bolster international capacity.  Reporting helped combat the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters.  Nigeria’s President, who also presided over the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, provided assurance that the country would carry out a campaign against Boko Haram in line with international humanitarian and human rights law.  Turning to non-proliferation, he stressed the need for all States to take resolute measures in consonance with resolution 1540 (2004).  Assistance to States must be based on actual needs.  The comprehensive review, he added, should help to achieve universality of first reporting, while exploring ways to ensure reporting via regional offices.

PHILIPPE BERTOUX (France) said the 1267 Committee was fully mobilized against the increased threat posed by Al-Qaida, its affiliates and other terrorists through its Monitoring Team.   It was also crucial for the sanctions list to best reflect those threats.  He encouraged all States to continue to submit listing requests, and in turn, for the Committee to take those requests seriously, as violations of the sanctions regime harmed its clout.  The delisting mechanism must respect the fundamental freedoms of listed persons, and he commended the Ombudsperson’s work to improve procedural guarantees.  Regarding the Counter-Terrorism Committee, he welcomed its regular convening of public meetings and ongoing efforts to prevent violent extremism.  France had adopted legislation to curb foreign terrorist fighters.  It was important for States to accept visits by the Executive Directorate and for that entity to work with other United Nations bodies to counter terrorism.  Concerning the 1540 Committee, the comprehensive review would be important for the nuclear security summit, for which France had made proposals.  He welcomed the review, which the Council would mark today with a press statement.

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) welcomed the 1540 Committee’s focus on planning for the comprehensive review, as its efforts had prompted States to take measures that would lead to improved implementation of that resolution.  Monitoring implementation was “the most important task”, as it created the foundation on which the rest of the Committee’s work depended.  She welcomed the revised matrices of all Member States and the increased engagement with States.  The United States had enhanced its efforts to combat proliferation, having “moved towards” the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.  She looked forward to the Counter-Terrorism Committee meeting in July.  Welcoming the Executive Directorate’s analysis of counter-terrorism capacity-building gaps, she urged that body and the Monitoring Team to work with the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force.  On the Al-Qaida Committee, implementation must be its first priority, and with its monitoring team, it must explore ways to deal with non-compliance.

MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said that despite all of the international community’s efforts, terrorism was proliferating.  Measures implemented so far should be assessed in order to chart a future course of action.  The 1267 Committee played a key role in reducing the danger posed by Al-Qaida and it was essential to keep the sanctions list updated by constantly checking requests for delisting and listing submitted to the Ombudsperson.  As for the 1540 Committee’s work, the comprehensive review should identify gaps in implementation.  Concerned about the situation in the Arab world, Jordan had hosted a workshop to help build capacity among States.  As for the Counter-Terrorism Committee, providing assistance should be a substantial part of its work.  Coordination and cooperation among the three committees were vital, he said, adding that the committees should have ongoing engagement, including through visits, with States affected by terrorists.

WANG MIN (China) stressed several points on the way forward regarding the work of the three committees.  The Security Council and the United Nations must carry out a coordinated action in countering terrorism, with no double standards applied.  On non-proliferation, the international community must tackle the root causes.  With the number of foreign terrorist fighters on the rise, it was becoming increasingly important to share databases with a view to curbing the transnational flow of those combatants.  It was also essential to crack down on the use of Internet to disseminate terrorist messages and extreme ideologies.  For its part, China had implemented Security Council resolutions alongside related measures, including providing training for national contact points.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said success or failure in responding to the terrorist threat depended on effective cooperation among all stakeholders.  He supported the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s upcoming conference in Madrid on ending the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  Turning to the Ombudsperson’s efforts carry out due process in the work of the Al-Qaida Committee, he said next year’s comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) would be essential.  There was “room to improve” dialogue with States in order to identify areas of deficiency.  He expressed concern at the excessive workload of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and Monitoring Team, saying that its need to respond to the growing demand for documentation was diverting its attention.  Overall, there was a need for more synergy among the committees, especially in their dialogue with States and efforts to improve national capacity, he said, urging that the root causes of terrorism should be addressed.

VLADIMIR K. SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation) said the epicentre of terrorism was in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS, Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaida affiliates continued to carry out barbaric acts and to desecrate cultural sites.  Expressing serious concern at ISIS efforts to take root in Afghanistan and Libya, he welcomed initiatives made by the Counter-Terrorism Committee and 1267 Committee to counter the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  The key to eradicating terrorism rested in combating the spread of extremist ideology, he said, urging the importance of curbing the use of information and communication technologies in that context.  He supported expanding the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Executive Directorate in that area, as well as focusing on stemming the illegal trade in oil, metals and cultural artefacts.  The accountability mechanism established by resolution 2199 (2015) was not running at full capacity, he said, encouraging States to report regularly to the 1267 Committee on steps taken to implement that text.  The new Ombudsperson should shrewdly evaluate the risks of delisting and consider the views of affected States.  The United Nations had developed a solid legal basis for counter-terrorism, he said, urging State cooperation that was free from politicization and double standards, and cautioning against dividing terrorists into “the goodies and the baddies”.

Council President RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia), speaking in his national capacity, said that because of his country’s location and as a trading nation, the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) was required.  Malaysia had set up a number of measures, including a domestic strategy, which had led to increased outreach to the private sector.  As a result, the private sector had enhanced its awareness and compliance with the resolution.  His country had also undertaken regional and subregional initiatives in its presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including hosting an intersessional meeting in Kuala Lumpur on the way forward following a Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  Taking note of the Ombudsperson’s role under the Al-Qaida Committee, he said there was room to explore such roles and mandates with regard to other sanctions committees.  In closing, he highlighted the importance the upcoming meeting hosted by Spain on ways to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.

*     The 7462nd Meeting was closed.

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