Pillar I of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy commits Member States to implementing measures to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, such as preventing and resolving conflicts, encouraging economic development, reducing social exclusion and marginalization and fostering understanding among peoples of varied religions and cultures through dialogue. These measures serve as effective tools for countering the appeal of terrorism by reducing the chances of radicalization and violent extremism of vulnerable groups. Pillar I also emphasizes the need to support victims of terrorism and their families and support and engage with civil society groups, particularly women and youth. The United Nations system continues to assist Member States in implementing pillar I of the Strategy.
- Countering the appeal of terrorism
The Task Force Office, in partnership with the Government of Switzerland, organized a high-level international counter-terrorism focal points’ conference on addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism in Geneva in June 2013, bringing together relevant experts and officials from more than 100 Member States and regional and international organizations, as well as from the United Nations system. It yielded high-level political support for measures to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including encouraging greater socioeconomic development, resolving and preventing conflicts, developing counter-radicalization programmes and narratives, and supporting victims of terrorism and their families.
- Preventing and resolving conflicts
The Strategy calls for greater support for and making the best use of the capacities of the United Nations in such areas as conflict prevention, mediation, the rule of law, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. United Nations envoys and mediators, supported by the Department of Political Affairs, have been assisting in resolving conflict, strengthening fragile democratic transitions and transforming confrontation into dialogue. The Department has also made huge efforts to prevent election-related violence. When political tensions arise in countries where the United Nations has neither an envoy nor a mission, the Department supports the efforts of United Nations resident coordinators and country teams to facilitate a response and assist national actors in addressing emerging challenges. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations, through its field missions, also contributes extensively to long-term stabilization after conflict.
- Fostering dialogue and understanding
Building understanding among peoples of diverse religions and cultures requires sustained dialogue aimed at dispelling misunderstanding and misconceptions that can otherwise lead to ignorance and hate. Under the Working Group of the Task Force on Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, in partnership with the Task Force Office, is implementing a project in 2014 to provide skills training on dialogue and understanding for a selected group of online media professionals from the Somalia diaspora community.
- Promoting economic and social development
Since its founding, the United Nations system has prioritized the sustainable economic and social development of Member States. Although not deemed to be core counter-terrorism work, activities that assist with equitable economic development and social progress have a direct impact on peace and security. The United Nations system has continued its support in this area through its agencies, funds and programmes, and particularly through its United Nations country teams in the field. The Secretary-General would like to highlight the support of the United Nations system towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The post-2015 sustainable development framework that Member States will develop is certain to have a lasting impact in addressing one of the key conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.