The unanimous adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in September 2006 (A/RES/60/288) was a major milestone for the Organization, a sign that Member States were moving towards a sense of common purpose and strategic framework in defeating a global threat.
The General Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to Member States’ counter-terrorism priorities. The fourth review of the Strategy took place in June 2014 (
) and was preceded by a report from the United Nations Secretary-General (A/RES/68/841) that included an overview of the evolving terrorism landscape, recommendations to address challenges and threats, and a compilation of measures taken by Member States and United Nations entities to fight against terrorism.
The Department of Political Affairs has been an active participant of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) since its creation. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is the Chair of CTITF and the Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT).
The Task Force consists of 34 international entities which by virtue of their work have a stake in multilateral counter-terrorism efforts. Each entity makes contributions consistent with its own mandate. The General Assembly approved the institutionalization of CTITF in 2009 with the establishment of a CTITF Office within DPA.
Membership of the CTITF
Observer members of the CTITF
The mandate of the CTITF is to enhance coordination and coherence of counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system and support Member States’ efforts to implement the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy, including through capacity building. While the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Global Strategy rests with Member States, CTITF ensures that the UN system is attuned to the needs of Member States, to provide them with the necessary policy support and spread in-depth knowledge of the Strategy, and expedite delivery of technical assistance.
The primary goal is to maximize each entity‘s comparative advantage by delivering as one to help Member States implement the four pillars of the Strategy, which are: measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; measures to prevent and combat terrorism; measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard; and measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
CTITF organizes its work through nine Working Groups and a number of counter-terrorism related projects in areas where cooperation among United Nations system actors can add value for the implementation of the Strategy. The nine CTITF Working Groups are on: Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism; Protection of Critical Infrastructure including Internet, Vulnerable Targets and Tourism Security; Preventing and Responding to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorist Attacks; Border Management and Law Enforcement relating to Counter-Terrorism; Countering the Financing of Terrorism; Legal and Criminal Justice Responses to Counter-Terrorism; Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law while Countering Terrorism; Supporting and Highlighting Victims of Terrorism; and National and Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategies.
United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT)
In 2006 all Member States of the United Nations acknowledged that the question of creating an international centre to fight terrorism could be considered as part of the international efforts to counter terrorism, as stipulated in the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
In 2011, through a voluntary contribution of the Government of Saudi Arabia, the United Nations Secretariat was able to launch UNCCT. In the same year, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/66/10 that took note of the contribution with appreciation, welcomed the establishment of the UNCCT within the CTITF Office, and encouraged Member States to collaborate with the Centre. Operating under the United Nations Secretary-General and the umbrella of the Department of Political Affairs, UNCCT contributes to promoting the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through the CTITF. UNCCT has initiated the implementation of 31 counter-terrorism projects around the world covering all four pillars of the Strategy.
The UNCCT benefits from the political support and advice of 22 of the most important counter-terrorism players on the world stage that agreed to be members of its Advisory Board. In August 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated USD 100 million to the UNCCT. Other donors of the Centre include the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Germany.
For further details of CTITF’s activities, products and reports, please visit its website.
Read the latest Politically Speaking article on terrorism.