V. Developing State capacity to prevent terrorism
74. Terrorists exploit weaknesses in both developing and developed States to fund, organize, equip and train their recruits, carry out their attacks, and hide from arrest. Building capacity in all States must therefore be the cornerstone of the global counter-terrorism effort. Other parts of this report touch on a number of important initiatives in this area. This section focuses specifically on identifying practical means by which States can increase their capacity to prevent terrorism, and corresponding methods through which the United Nations can employ its comparative advantages in helping States to do so.
75. Regional and subregional initiatives have proved a valuable forum for sharing best practices and lessons learned in capacity-building, and for facilitating regional contributions to the international community's efforts. I urge States that face similar challenges to work together to strengthen capacity, including by drawing on the benefits of South-South cooperation.
76. In all areas of capacity-building, it is crucial that the assistance providers work together to maximize the impact of the overall international effort. States must also do their part to take assistance and use it to make a real difference in implementation. I urge all entities to adequately follow up to the assistance they provide, possibly by developing and enhancing existing mentorship programmes in the field.
A. Priority areas
1. Promoting the rule of law, respect for human rights, and effective criminal justice systems
77. The fundamental basis for our common fight against terrorism is respect for human rights and the rule of law. Strengthening the international legal architecture within which we strive to prevent and combat terrorism must therefore be a priority. The Security Council in resolution 1373 (2001) contributed to this end by deciding that all States should ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in support of terrorist acts is brought to justice, and that such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations. States need to be able to implement and enforce these laws and bring perpetrators to justice, with due respect for human rights.
78. The United Nations can contribute significantly to helping States to develop and maintain an effective and rule of law-based criminal justice system that can fulfil these functions. For instance, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has accumulated valuable experience in providing legislative and other assistance to facilitate drug control, combat transnational organized crime, money-laundering, terrorism and corruption, and enhance international cooperation, especially in extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters. The Office's ability to do so is enhanced through the use of its 22 field offices, which play a unique role in facilitating and enhancing the provision of technical assistance to States, upon request, regarding the universal instruments related to the prevention and suppression of international terrorism. In particular, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the Office has established itself as a provider of technical assistance in legislative drafting and international cooperation, as well as training of criminal justice officials. Considerable work remains to be done on legislation per se, and on strengthening States' institutional structures and mechanisms to implement it. I urge the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue its much-needed work in this regard.
79. As noted earlier in this strategy, UNDP, with an unparalleled field presence in 166 countries, has a vital role to play in promoting good governance. It can integrate counter-terrorism aspects into its programmes by working for the ratification and implementation of international standards for combating terrorism, by supporting and enhancing the capacity of justice and law enforcement systems, and by providing a strong focus on adherence to international human rights law. In addition, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations has been and continues to be uniquely positioned to provide training to national police on criminal matters including kidnapping, hostage-taking, and the investigation of assassinations, murders and bombings, and I urge it to continue its work in strengthening national police capacity. At the same time we must ensure that all police forces understand the implications of human rights work. OHCHR should therefore continue to employ tools to increase awareness of international human rights law, especially in the context of terrorism and counter-terrorism.
2. Promoting quality education and religious and cultural tolerance
80. UNESCO has a lead role to play in the vital area of education and promotion of tolerance, including through inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue. It should scale up existing programmes for strengthening the capacity of educational systems worldwide to integrate human rights education, internationally shared values, mutual understanding, conflict prevention and critical thinking into every aspect of States' educational systems, including through the development of curriculum standards, the training of teachers, and the approval of school textbooks.
3. Countering the financing of terrorism
81. Various United Nations organizations and their partners, in particular the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Interpol, already work to ensure that States have in place the laws and institutions to comply fully with international norms and obligations to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorism.
82. I encourage an increase in the training of relevant criminal justice personnel, as well as technical assistance that takes into account the level of development of the financial sectors and the specific risks that apply to each individual country. I also urge further development of joint initiatives, such as the working group established by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Interpol for the delivery of technical assistance for anti-money-laundering and combating the financing of terrorism technical assistance, as well as the expansion of relevant databases.
4. Ensuring transport security
83. Terrorist groups have long displayed a particular interest in carrying out attacks against critical infrastructure, including transport systems and the transport of passengers and goods by sea and air. Several transport-related entities in the United Nations system, in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and ICAO already play a critical role in strengthening Member States' capacity to protect themselves in areas ranging from container security to protection against the use of man-portable air defence systems. I welcome in particular the adoption in 2004 of a strengthened International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, enforced by IMO.
84. I urge the IMO, WCO and ICAO to continue to strengthen their cooperation, and to work to identify any areas of transport security that are neglected by States. I also support the expansion of each organization's technical assistance programmes, and urge States to make use of them to ensure that international standards are implemented. All States should implement the updated ICAO standards of November 2005 and the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade of June 2005. In addition, I encourage the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate to continue to develop its work, through country visits and in close cooperation with IMO and ICAO, to identify the needs of States, including the protection of critical infrastructure. The Executive Directorate should also explore ways to facilitate the dissemination of best practices, with due regard to confidentiality.
5. Harnessing the power of the Internet to counter terrorism
85. Previous sections of this report have highlighted the pressing need for the international community to counter terrorist use of the Internet. Conversely, all States must fully harness the power of the Internet as a means to counter terrorism. In this sense, we can turn one of the terrorists' favourite tools against them. The Internet is a powerful and unparalleled tool for countering the spread of the ideologies of terrorism, focusing on the plight of victims, linking communities and educational establishments in different countries, and gathering and sharing information on terrorist suspects. States should work together to maximize the impact of the Internet in all of these areas, with due respect to confidentiality.
6. Improving the protection of soft targets and the response to attacks on them
86. The capacity to protect soft targets and respond to attacks on them is highly uneven among Member States, and regrettably may be weakest where it is needed most. I urge Member States to review the existing United Nations mandates related to assistance for building the capacity to prevent terrorist attacks on the general population. The United Nations system should also identify and strengthen ways to broker the exchange of best practices between Member States in this area. I urge Interpol to work with the Secretariat, in particular the Department of Safety and Security, which is situated to engage with Member States in the field, to that end. As many targets of terrorists, such as infrastructure, shops and restaurants, are in private ownership, more attention should be paid to developing public-private partnerships. I also urge the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, to continue its work to facilitate protection against terrorist attacks on large-scale events and gatherings.
7. Strengthening State capacity to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological materials, and ensuring better preparedness for an attack with such materials
87. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been active in helping States to build capacity to prevent terrorists from accessing nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological materials, and to respond effectively in the event of an attack using such materials. I urge them to work together to identify and address any gaps in this area.
88. In addition, I suggest that Member States examine the possibility of asking the Security Council to promote facilitation of technical assistance to counter terrorist development, acquisition, and use of weapons of mass destruction, through the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the group of experts who assist the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004). In addition, the General Assembly and the Security Council may wish to consider adopting a resolution calling on all States to provide the necessary cooperation and assistance in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction. It may also be necessary to develop or review guidelines for Member States on their response to such an attack, in particular steps to report it and to request international assistance.
89. To prevent terrorists from acquiring chemical materials, States should ensure that security at chemical plants is kept to the highest standard, and I urge the relevant United Nations entities to provide assistance where needed. A mechanism should also be developed to allow the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in cooperation with other relevant United Nations actors, to provide necessary assistance and coordinate the response and relief operations in case of a chemical weapon attack or the release of chemical agents.
90. To help prevent and ensure preparedness for a biological attack, a major initiative is needed to strengthen States' public health systems. Improving the world's health systems will have multiple positive impacts, including reducing the number of people that die each year of infectious disease. The same measures can deny those terrorists tempted to use pathogens for nefarious purposes both their targets and their desired impact. The World Health Organization (WHO) has done good work in providing technical assistance to help States to improve their public health systems, but efforts must be stepped up dramatically. Support from Member States - in the form of resources, political will and cooperation - is vital. In addition, the United Nations should work to develop a single comprehensive database on biological incidents and promote information-sharing to facilitate threat and risk assessment and support criminal investigation. Updating the roster of biological experts and laboratories at the disposal of the Secretary-General is also necessary.
91. Overall, the United Nations must improve coordination in planning a response to a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction. In particular, it will be necessary to review and improve the effectiveness of the existing inter-agency coordination mechanism for assistance delivery and relief operations, including risk assessment, emergency response and crisis management, and victim support, as well as emergency recovery plans, so that all States can receive adequate assistance. The United Nations humanitarian response mechanisms are available in case terrorist attacks have major humanitarian implications and international assistance is required. Several reform initiatives are already under way that would strengthen the ability of the humanitarian community to respond rapidly and effectively to humanitarian emergencies in general.
B. Providing proper resources to counter terrorism
92. Demands by Member States on United Nations entities to provide technical assistance have increased dramatically in recent years. This unprecedented growth in demand has not been matched by the required increase in resources, however. Moreover, much of the United Nations technical assistance delivery in the area of counter-terrorism is financed through voluntary funding, which tends to be volatile and prevents entities from engaging in long-term planning. I call on Member States to explore additional and more reliable sources of funding.
93. For example, it is estimated that the demand for, and delivery of, the technical assistance services of the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has increased at least threefold since 2003, in terms of the substantive content and the quantity of required activities. At the same time, the core resource allocation for the Branch - for providing the specialized expertise and carrying out the core backstopping functions - has remained the same since 2003, making it necessary for resource requirements to be met through voluntary assistance, which has significant operational drawbacks. Member States should therefore consider additional regular budget funding for these types of activities.
C. Promoting United Nations system-wide coherence in countering terrorism
94. A remarkably wide array of organizations, departments, agencies, units and groups in the United Nations system and among its partners are actively involved in building State capacity to prevent terrorism. Indeed, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force counts members representing 23 different entities. Many of them are independent organizations and specialized agencies with their own governing arrangements. Annex I to the present report presents an overview of their wide-ranging activities.
95. This organizational fragmentation emphasizes the breadth of activities undertaken by the United Nations system in this area. It also reflects the need for specialized and multifaceted responses to tackle the complex threat of terrorism. At the same time, it requires us to ensure that the work of the United Nations is coherent and that scarce resources are not wasted through inadequate sharing of information and duplication of work. Only by means of a strong push to improve cooperation and coordination can the United Nations realize its full potential in assisting States to build their capacity to counter terrorism.
96. The Counter-Terrorism Committee, established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), is at the core of our efforts to improve the coherence and efficiency of technical assistance delivery. Resolution 1373 (2001) mandates the Committee not only to monitor compliance but also to facilitate the provision of technical assistance to States that would enhance their capacities to implement their counter-terrorism obligations. The Committee's initial request for States to report on their efforts to implement resolution 1373 (2001) produced an overwhelmingly positive response. As of the time of writing, all 191 Member States have sent at least one report to the Committee. Many have submitted two, three or more reports. Through these reports, the world has gained, for the first time, a global overview of the laws and institutional arrangements that are in place in Member States and the ability to identify where shortfalls exist.
97. To reinforce the Counter-Terrorism Committee's efforts towards more effective collaboration and State capacity-building, the Committee established the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, which became fully operational late in 2005. Through the Executive Directorate's on-site visits to capitals, and dialogue with States and with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations, the Committee has moved beyond its focus on written reports and improved its ability to monitor and assess what actions States are actually taking to combat terrorism. The Executive Directorate also enhances the Committee's capacity to identify and prioritize the technical assistance needs of Member States.
98. The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate has carried out 7 on-site visits so far, and plans to complete 10 more by the end of 2006. I applaud the fact that the Executive Directorate was joined on the visits by representatives of other entities of the United Nations system and on occasion even by regional organizations. I urge relevant organizations to build further on such synergies among various entities. Once assessments are carried out, available human and financial resources for the provision of technical assistance should be matched to the need.
99. I also welcome development of a new assessment tool which allows the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate to assess, in a systematic and transparent manner, to what degree States have implemented the obligations laid down in Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). This will allow the Executive Directorate to establish priority areas within countries. Technical assistance providers, including bilateral donors, should be forthcoming, with due respect to confidentiality, in sharing information on the technical assistance projects that are under way or completed. I urge the Executive Directorate to work closely with all technical assistance providers and share information that might be helpful for them in their assistance programmes.
1. Improving information-sharing
100. Given the wide range of United Nations entities working on counter-terrorism issues, it is crucial that the coordination and sharing of information is enhanced to the fullest degree possible. To this end, I recommend the creation of an informal group, to include United Nations technical assistance providers, as well as donors and recipients, which could meet once or twice per year to exchange information.
101. Such coordination will also need to include better sharing of information in the field. Several innovative mechanisms could be adopted to that end.
102. First, I will ensure that information on all available United Nations counter-terrorism resources will be made available in one place - in the form of an online handbook. This is needed both by States and by United Nations country teams. It should contain, inter alia, contact details of focal points for United Nations bodies and assistance providers. It should also make clear where to look for relevant resources, including best practices available in key areas and frequently asked questions. I ask the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to work with the relevant entities to create such a handbook as soon as possible.
103. Second, technical assistance delivery activities need to be better coordinated and reinforced at the country level. We need to make the best use of existing United Nations country offices. We should have United Nations system-wide focal points and a natural flow of information around the system, in particular to and from the field, as work goes forward on counter-terrorism, to make sure it is done in the context of the United Nations overall approach in any country. Resident coordinators and other senior officials in the field are in a prime position to detect signs of popular sympathy for terrorist groups or ideologies, extremist recruitment and hate media. By bringing this to the attention of the United Nations system and the international community, they can help to promote early action.
104. Third, synergies among international, regional and subregional organizations should be enhanced. We need to reinforce and maximize existing arrangements and mechanisms and establish new channels of cooperation, with due respect to confidentiality. The United Nations, in particular the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, can be instrumental in helping to establish regional counter-terrorism mechanisms and centres. Full flow of information is critical; shared analysis and assessment by all actors in a particular country is a priority. We should strive for shared assessment visits between organizations to help to reduce the burden on States.
2. Streamlining reporting mechanisms
105. Excessively burdensome reporting obligations are a problem throughout the United Nations system, as emphasized in my recently released report entitled "Mandating and delivering: analysis and recommendations to facilitate the review of mandates" (A/60/733). With regard to reporting mechanisms related to counter-terrorism, a number of practical steps can help to alleviate the problem.
106. First, an assessment should be made of the extent to which lack of energy and interest, lack of will, or lack of capacity has led to a fall-off in reporting to the Security Council as called for in resolutions 1267 (1999) and its successors, resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004).
107. Second, as the majority of States that have not reported to all three Committees are in specific regions, the Committees could examine a regional approach to raising awareness of the issues. Without undermining the principle that each State must submit a separate report, the Council could identify a mechanism or a relevant Member State that could offer help and advice to States of a region.
108. Third, the Committees should make every effort to coordinate requests for information, both among themselves and with other international organizations, to ensure that they are aware of information already submitted and to avoid separate requests for similar information. The 2005 World Summit Outcome encouraged the Security Council to consider ways to consolidate State reporting requirements, taking into account and respecting the different mandates of its counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies. I hope that the Security Council can consider and take action on the recommendations already made by the expert groups that support its counter-terrorism committees. In addition, requests for information should be tailored to the recipient State. The period between requests should be long enough to allow States time to implement or review relevant national legislation or procedures so as to avoid multiple reports which provide little new information.
3. Institutionalizing the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force
109. The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, based in my Office, is an important mechanism with the potential for ensuring overall coordination and coherence in the United Nations system's counter-terrorism efforts. Given its success so far, not only in helping me to develop recommendations for a counter-terrorism strategy but also in promoting cooperation among relevant United Nations entities, I am taking steps to institutionalize the Task Force within the Secretariat. This will include creating a small support function within my Office to coordinate and develop its activities, in particular implementing the outcomes of the deliberations of Member States on the recommendations contained throughout this report.