III. Denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack
38. Terrorists require means to carry out their attacks. The ability to generate and move finances, to acquire weapons, to recruit and train cadres, and to communicate, particularly through use of the Internet, are all essential to terrorists. They seek easy access to their intended targets and increasingly look for greater impact - both in numbers killed and in media exposure. Denying them access to these means and targets can help to prevent future attacks.
A. Denying financial support
39. Terrorists generate funds in many ways, with monies moved through both formal and informal sectors. Whereas some terrorist groups may fund their activities from drug cultivation and trafficking, terrorists operating through decentralized networks that once raised and moved money through formal channels and otherwise legitimate sources such as private business and charities are turning to methods that are more difficult to monitor, such as the use of cash couriers. In addition, we cannot overlook the fact that certain acts of terrorism require relatively minor funding - "low-budget" terrorism. Efforts to suppress the latter should focus on dissuading potential terrorists from choosing terrorism in the first place - something already discussed in a previous section of this report. On the other hand, the established approaches to anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism could be more effective for dealing with drug-financed terrorism and global networks.
40. Following the flow of money not only helps to prevent attacks, but can provide information that is useful for further investigations. The Security Council in its resolution 1373 (2001) requested all States to take the necessary measures to eliminate the financing of terrorism. The Security Council has also urged all Member States to implement the nine Special Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on tackling terrorist financing, and I add my voice to that call. These include important provisions about cooperating internationally and addressing the ways in which terrorists abuse the charitable sector and informal ways of moving money. I also urge all States that have not yet done so to become parties to and implement the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, which may have implications for terrorist financing.
41. One instrument central to combating the financing of terrorism efforts, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, warrants highlighting. As at 23 April 2006, there were 153 parties to the Convention. While this represents an increase of 149 since the attacks of 11 September 2001, it is still 38 Member States too few. I urge all Member States that have not joined the Convention to do so, and to implement fully its provisions, without exception.
42. The United Nations financial sanctions system can be an important tool in ensuring effective action against terrorist financing. The Security Council has long since imposed an arms and travel ban and financial sanctions against members of Al-Qaida and associated entities, and has monitored their implementation in particular through the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999). More must be done to ensure that those sanctions target the right people and are fully enforced, and to improve the accountability and transparency of sanctions regimes. The fourth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the Sanctions Committee contains proposals which I encourage Member States to consider. In addition, we need to ensure that the regimes of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee are mutually reinforcing.
B. Denying access to weapons, including weapons of mass destruction
43. Once a terrorist has money with which to plan an atrocity, he will next turn to what practical means he can use - how to get hold of a weapon. While most terrorist attacks so far have used conventional weapons, no one can disregard the enormously destructive potential of terrorists using nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological weapons. Several terrorist groups have professed a determination to obtain weapons of mass destruction and some have even used them, fortunately without catastrophic impact. Denying them access to these materials must be a serious part of the international effort.
1. Conventional weapons
44. The Security Council has established an arms embargo against Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates, most recently reiterated in resolution 1617 (2005), and in resolution 1373 (2001) called on States to eliminate the supply of weapons to terrorists. But gaps remain in the control of conventional weapons. Additional efforts must be undertaken, including through creating new international instruments regulating conventional weapons, and advocating greater adherence to and fuller compliance with the existing instruments. We must promote accession to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, and I urge Member States to step up implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons. I also urge Member States to promote the necessary legislative or other measures, including the use of authenticated end-user certificates, to ensure effective control over the export and transit of illicit small arms and light weapons.
45. Man-portable air defence systems have already been used by terrorists. It is in the interests of all Member States to make it harder for terrorists to acquire those systems and to prevent them from using such weaponry. I urge Member States to support current international, regional and national efforts to combat and prevent the illicit transfer of man-portable air defence systems and encourage them to enact or improve legislation and procedures to ban transfers of such weapons to non-State end-users and to ensure that such weapons are exported only to Governments or agents authorized by Governments. I also urge greater participation in and more accurate reporting to United Nations-managed transparency instruments, especially the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, and I support efforts to enlarge its scope to include small arms and light weapons.
46. The proliferation of small arms and light weapons in conflict-ridden and conflict-prone countries and regions helps to feed the terrorist supply chain. In order to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons in conflict zones, it is critical to establish more stringent control over small arms and ammunition and to put in place more effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. I urge the Security Council to consider a more rigorous and expeditious use of arms embargoes.
2. Nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological weapons
47. A nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological terrorist attack would have a devastatingly far-reaching impact. In addition to causing widespread death and destruction, it could deal a crippling blow to the world economy and drive millions of people into dire poverty. An ensuing effect on infant mortality could unleash a second wave of deaths throughout the developing world.
48. Our common goal must be to secure, and wherever possible eliminate, nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological weapons and implement effective domestic and export controls on dual-use materials related to weapons of mass destruction. Although there exist distinct challenges for controlling the peaceful use of each type of hazardous material, United Nations organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been working with Member States to address these challenges. That vital work must be strengthened.
49. Equally, States should reinforce existing non-proliferation mechanisms and create effective tools to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, consistent with relevant international treaties. As stressed, inter alia, in the Riyadh Declaration adopted at the Counter-Terrorism International Conference held in February 2005, there is, inter alia, a need to strengthen international measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and to support the role of the United Nations in this respect. States must fully implement Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) by enacting and enforcing effective national legal and regulatory measures to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. I also urge Member States to take steps specified in General Assembly resolution 60/78 on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and resolution 60/73 on preventing the risk of radiological terrorism.
50. A majority of States have reported to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) on the status of their planned steps in fulfilling the resolution's requirements, including those pertaining to domestic and export controls and contributions to international cooperation. Yet, as at 19 April 2006, 62 States had not yet reported to the Committee. I urge them to do so without delay. Those reports help to identify and close gaps in the system that terrorists might exploit.
51. The recent adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which aims to assist States in thwarting terrorist groups possessing nuclear material and in post-crisis situations by rendering the nuclear material safe in accordance with safeguards provided by IAEA, is a major advance in multilateral efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. I call on all States to become parties to it and implement it fully. The same applies to the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. I also commend the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the beneficial work that it has brought about.
3. The challenge of biological terrorism
52. The most important under-addressed threat relating to terrorism, and one which acutely requires new thinking on the part of the international community, is that of terrorists using a biological weapon. Biotechnology, like computer technology, has developed exponentially. Such advances herald promising breakthroughs and are one of the key battlefronts in our attempts to eliminate the infectious diseases that kill upwards of 14 million people every year. They can, however, also bring incalculable harm if put to destructive use by those who seek to develop designer diseases and pathogens.
53. We find ourselves now at a point akin to the period in the 1950s, when farsighted citizens, scientists, diplomats and international civil servants recognized the enormous potential impact, both good and bad, of nuclear power. The challenge then was to harness the power of nuclear energy for civilian purposes, and to minimize its use and spread in nuclear weapons. The result was the creation of IAEA and, eventually, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The answer to biotechnology's dual-use dilemma will look very different. But the approach to developing it must be equally ambitious.
54. Preventing bioterrorism requires innovative solutions specific to the nature of the threat. Biotechnology is not like nuclear technology. Soon, tens of thousands of laboratories worldwide will be operating in a multi-billion-dollar industry. Even students working in small laboratories will be able to carry out gene manipulation. The approach to fighting the abuse of biotechnology for terrorist purposes will have more in common with measures against cybercrime than with the work to control nuclear proliferation.
55. Many Member States see biological weapons as a State-sponsored threat, for which the proper antidote is the Biological Weapons Convention. Indeed, the Convention does need strengthening and I hope that progress is made at the forthcoming Sixth Review Conference. Nonetheless, we need additional measures to address the problem of non-State actors.
56. International dialogue has begun through the follow-up process to the Biological Weapons Convention, while civil society has made novel efforts to address the dual-use issue. The International Committee of the Red Cross has sought to bring attention to the problem among Governments, industry and scientific communities. The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, working together with various national academies of science, has drafted a code of conduct for scientists working in the biotechnology field.
57. These efforts are to be applauded but, unless they are brought together, their effects will be diffuse. What we need now is a forum that will bring together the various stakeholders - Governments, industry, science, public health, security, the public writ large - into a common programme, built from the bottom up, to ensure that biotechnology's advances are used for the public good and that the benefits are shared equitably around the world. Such an effort must ensure that nothing is done to impede the potential positive benefits from this technology. The United Nations is well placed to coordinate and facilitate such a forum, and to bring to the table a wide range of relevant actors. I urge Member States to consider this proposal in the near future.
C. Denying access to recruits and communication by countering terrorist use of the Internet
58. Terrorist networks rely on communication to build support and recruit members. We must deny them this access, particularly by countering their use of the Internet - a rapidly growing vehicle for terrorist recruitment and dissemination of information and propaganda. In 1998, there were fewer than 20 terrorist websites. By 2005, that number was estimated by experts to have surged into the thousands. Indeed it seems that some major recent attacks drew support from content on the Internet.
59. The Internet is a prime example of how terrorists can behave in a truly transnational way; in response, States need to think and function in an equally transnational manner. Those intent on using cyberspace for terrorist purposes can do so from virtually anywhere in the world. Terrorists take advantage of differences in national responses - if blocked from operating in one State, they can simply relocate to another. In this way, the Internet can become a virtual safe haven that defies national borders.
60. States are beginning to recognize and formulate potential responses to the problem. The Tunis Agenda adopted in 2005 by the World Summit on the Information Society underlines the importance of countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations on the Internet, while respecting human rights and in compliance with other obligations under international law.
61. Security Council resolution 1624 (2005) provides a basis for the criminalization of incitement to terrorist acts and recruitment, including through the Internet. Member States must now report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee on steps taken to implement the resolution. The Committee should continue to assist Governments to build capacity in this area, including by coordinating the identification of best practices and assessing priorities based on individual need. Member States that have not already done so should take the necessary steps to impede the use of information and communications technologies for promoting and carrying out terrorist activities. The United Nations can provide technical assistance to help States develop appropriate legislation and build legal capacity in this regard, as well as work with Member States to explore other possible actions to counter terrorist use of the Internet.
D. Denying terrorists access to travel
62. Much of international terrorist activity still relies on physical movement - using regular transportation to reach another country in order to promote their message, recruit new members, and provide explosives training or transfer money. We need to do more to address loopholes in transport security, and to assist States in developing tools to tackle identity theft and fraudulent travel documents. In accordance with Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), the Counter-Terrorism Committee is working with States on their adoption of legislation and administrative measures to deny terrorists access to travel, and this work should be continued.
63. The international community must tackle the criminal trade in illegal documents that acts as an enabler to the terrorists' goals. The assistance project recently launched by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aimed at bringing the passports of approximately 70 States up to the security baseline was a step in the right direction. The database of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) on stolen and lost travel documents is also an effective tool in this regard, particularly as it concerns intercepting terrorists when attempting to cross borders. I urge Interpol to enhance its work on the database and likewise urge Member States to make full use of this tool, in particular by sharing relevant information with each other through the database and granting access to its law enforcement officials in the field, including at border crossings.
64. Equally, we must strengthen the effectiveness of the travel ban under the sanctions regime against Al-Qaida and the Taliban, as it appears not to have been as effective as had been hoped. The Interpol-United Nations Special Notices concerning people subject to the sanctions imposed by the Security Council regime against the Taliban, Al-Qaida and their associates are a welcome development and Member States should distribute them widely to raise awareness and increase the effectiveness of the travel ban. I encourage the Security Council, and all Member States, to take necessary steps to further strengthen the travel ban.
65. We must also work to strengthen border control, in particular in developing countries with long, poorly defined and often mountainous frontiers. Parts of the United Nations system, including the World Bank, have been working to support the reform and modernization of border management systems, facilities and institutions, at the national, regional and international levels. I urge further work in this area and highlight the need for political support within relevant countries to implement improved border management practices.
E. Denying terrorists access to their targets and the desired impact of their attacks
66. One of the most pernicious aspects of modern terrorism is the intent to cause mass casualties in public places, including those related to tourism and recreational facilities. There are, however, several examples of terrorists abandoning a planned target because it was considered too difficult to achieve their goal. Accordingly, we must work to improve the protection of soft targets as well as the security and safety of civilians affected by their attacks. In addition, we must not forget the importance of ensuring the safety of peacetime security personnel from similar attacks.
67. We also need to ensure that, in the event of an attack, the most professional life-saving responses are utilized, especially when dealing with simultaneous or repeat attacks. We need to respond in a way that denies terrorists their goal of spreading fear - when we respond we need to be clearly in control. We also must make the public aware of the real impact of that attack on the innocent people and communities affected.
68. Building State capacity to both improve the protection of soft targets and ensure the most up-to-date response is crucial, and I highlight specific initiatives in this regard in later sections of this report. Complementary to State endeavours is a range of initiatives which can be pursued in partnerships with communities and the private sector to mitigate risk.