Pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, maintenance of international peace and security is the primary responsibility of the Security Council. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the Council acting, under Chapter VII of the Charter, adopted resolution 1373 (2001), which sets forth a range of measures to be implemented by Member States in order to address the terrorist threat in a global, coordinated and comprehensive manner. The resolution also created the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), a Council subsidiary body composed of all 15 Council members, tasked with monitoring Member States’ implementation efforts.
By its resolution 1535 (2004), the Council subsequently established the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) as a special political mission, charged with assisting the Committee in its work to monitor, facilitate and promote Member States’ implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and subsequent resolutions and decisions of the Council on counter-terrorism, including resolution 1624 (2005), on the prohibition of incitement to commit terrorist acts, and resolution 2178 (2014), on countering foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and countering violent extremism (CVE).
Counter-terrorism has been a prominent issue on the agenda of the United Nations for many years. In response to the evolving global terrorism threat, the United Nations has created a number of bodies to deal with terrorism-related issues. In addition to the Counter-Terrorism Committee and CTED, the Council has established: (i) the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) and its Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities; and (ii) the Non-proliferation Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) and its Expert Group. The Council also established a Working Group on the victims of terrorism, pursuant to its resolution 1566 (2004).
In adopting the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, in 2006, the United Nations General Assembly created the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT). A number of other United Nations entities and specialized agencies are engaged in counter-terrorism issues. They include the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Customs Organization (WCO). All these entities cooperate within their respective mandates and within the CTITF Framework.
CTED conducts country visits on the Committee’s behalf to assess Member States’ counter-terrorism efforts, strengths, weaknesses and technical assistance needs and to identify good practices employed in the implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005), 2242 (2015) and 2178 (2014), as well as terrorism-related trends and challenges. The visiting teams are led by CTED and include experts from relevant international, regional and subregional organizations, including the African Union, the European Union, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and other specialized bodies and institutions with expertise in specific aspects of counter-terrorism. As of 31 December 2016, the Committee had conducted 114 visits.
The Committee’s visits are guided by four main documents: (i) “The Framework Document for CTC visits to States in order to enhance the monitoring of the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001)” (2005); (ii) the “General Guidelines for conducting CTC visits to Member States (2005)”; (iii) the “Procedures for CTC visits to Member States” (2005), including the preparation of visits; the conduct of the visit; and visits’ follow up; and (iv) the “Guidelines of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for post-visit follow-up, 2012”.
The global terrorist threat is complex and geographically diverse. It is therefore essential to promote international cooperation and engagement in countering terrorism, including within the framework of Council resolutions 1373 (2001), 2178 (2014) and 2322 (2016), on international judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and the 19 international counter-terrorism instruments. Combating terrorism requires international cooperation in criminal matters with full respect for the rule of law and human rights. Moreover, counter-terrorism policies and methods must go beyond traditional security arrangements and adopt a broader perspective that engages all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.
In order to assist Member States to bring terrorists to justice and support international cooperation in criminal matters, CTED collaborates, under the direction of the Committee, with a number of international, regional and subregional organizations, including, inter alia, the Council of Europe, the European Union, FATF, the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), IOM, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), the League of Arab States, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC and WCO. The Committee and CTED also cooperate closely with some of the world’s largest private-sector actors and key civil-society groups in preventing and combating terrorist exploitation of information and communications technologies (ICT).
The Committee and CTED take account of relevant human rights issues in all their activities, including within the framework of the Committee’s country visits, in their interaction with Member States, and in their work products. In the Committee’s reports to the Council, submitted as part of its comprehensive reviews of the work of CTED, the Committee states that CTED should take account of relevant human rights obligations (S/2005/800 and S/2006/989). In May 2006, the Committee adopted human rights policy guidance for CTED.
Security Council resolution 1624 (2005), which addresses incitement to commit terrorist acts, stresses that States must ensure that any measures they take to implement the resolution comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law, and humanitarian law. The preamble to resolution 1624 (2005) emphasizes the right to freedom of expression and the right to seek and enjoy asylum. In its resolution 2178 (2014), on stemming the flow of FTFs, the Council decides that Member States shall, consistent with international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of FTFs and stressed that CVE was an essential element of an effective response to the FTF phenomenon.
In order to engage with Member States, CTED employs a number of channels and tools, including consultations, meetings and briefings, special meetings, country visits, reports submitted to the Committee by Member States, and its comprehensive assessment tools, the Detailed Implementation Survey (DIS) and the Overview of Implementation Assessment (OIA). The outreach activities of the Committee and CTED are also regularly covered through press releases and tweets (@UN_CTED).
Acting through their Governments or through their Permanent Missions to the United Nations, Member States may request assistance by contacting either the Chair of the Committee, including by email to sc-ctc [at] un.org, or the CTED Executive Director, including by email to cted [at] un.org.
No. The Committee and CTED do not provide technical assistance directly to Member States. Rather, they facilitate the delivery of technical assistance, in accordance with the CTC Policy Guidance on Technical Assistance, through close engagement with a broad range of donor and provider organizations.
The Committee has adopted guidance on whether or how to distribute its assessment documents. In addition, Council resolution 2129 (2013), paragraph 10, “[d]irects CTED to make available information contained in national counterterrorism surveys and assessments, when agreed by concerned Member States […]”. Accordingly, by agreement with the State concerned, the Committee’s assessment documents are shared with technical assistance providers and implementing agencies to assist the State in the implementation of the assessment’s recommendations. Moreover, analysis of the information gathered by the Committee and CTED during their interaction with Member States is shared with the general public through the global implementation surveys (GIS) of Member States’ implementation of Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005). These documents provide a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the resolutions, identify progress achieved and remaining challenges, and indicate where the international community might most usefully focus its efforts.
Both the Committee and CTED were established by the Security Council. However, CTED, like the UNCCT, is also a member of the CTITF, a network of 38 entities established to support the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288). CTED is tasked by the Council with monitoring, facilitating and promoting Member States’ implementation of the relevant Council resolutions. The CTITF Office/UNCCT is tasked by the General Assembly with ensuring the coordination and coherence of United Nations counter-terrorism efforts and providing capacity-building assistance, as appropriate.
CTED and the GCTF work in close cooperation. The GCTF functions primarily as a mechanism for furthering the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and for complementing and reinforcing existing multilateral counter-terrorism efforts. CTED participates in GCTF coordination meetings with a view to ensuring synergy of action within the framework of the CTITF Capacity-Building Implementation Action Plan and promoting and sharing good practices identified by CTED and GCTF in their dialogue with Member States and international, regional and subregional organizations. The two entities participate in workshops on a reciprocal basis, and CTED supports the development of good practices by the GCTF.
Over the years, the Committee has taken a number of steps to streamline its working methodology and procedures in order to enhance its dialogue with Member States, including by regularly updating its assessment, stocktaking, and other working procedures. The following are the Committee’s primary guidance documents:
- Framework document for Committee visits to States in order to enhance the monitoring of the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) (2005):
- Procedures for Committee visits to Member States (2005):
- General Guidelines for conducting Committee visits to Member States (2005):
- Guidelines of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for post-visit follow-up:
- Counter-Terrorism Committee updated working methods.
Academic institutions are essential partners of the Committee and CTED. Council resolution 2129 (2013) directs CTED to identify emerging issues, trends and developments relating to Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005) and to advise the Committee on practical ways for Member States to implement the resolutions. Paragraph 19 of resolution 2129 (2013) invites CTED to further engage and enhance its partnership, among others, with academia and other entities in conducting research and information-gathering and in identifying good practices and, in that context, to support the Committee’s efforts to promote implementation of the resolutions. In 2015, the Committee, assisted by CTED, launched a Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network, which consists of leading think tanks and research institutions from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and Oceania. See Fact Sheet of the Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network here. In November 2015, the Committee, assisted by CTED, held an open meeting with partners of the Global Research Network, open to the wider United Nations membership, to analyse and discuss emerging terrorism issues and trends, particularly those pertaining to FTFs. The goal of the open meeting was to enable the Committee, CTED and Network partners to analyse and discuss related emerging issues, trends and developments and to build on research gaps with a view to identifying priority areas of work with respect to the implementation of resolution 2178 (2014). See outcome document of the open meeting here.
Yes. You can follow the work of the Committee and CTED through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Facebook: facebook.com/UnitedNationsCTED
- Instagram: @UN_CTED
- Twitter: @UN_CTED
Hashtags used for major meetings and events include #StopICTterrorism, #StopTerrorFinance, and #UpholdingJustice.
Yes. The importance of integrating a gender dimension and including a focus on the roles of women in countering terrorism and violent extremism has been highlighted in several Council resolutions. In its resolution 2129 (2013), the Council recalls its intention to increase its attention to women, peace and security issues in all relevant thematic areas of work on its agenda, including threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, as outlined in resolution 2122 (2013). In resolution 2178 (2014), aimed at addressing the FTF threat, Member States were encouraged to engage and empower women as part of an effort to counter violent extremism in order to prevent terrorism and engage a broader range of stakeholders. Moreover, Council resolution 2242 (2015) called for “greater integration by Member States and the United Nations of their agendas on women, peace and security, counter-terrorism and countering-violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism.” CTED accordingly incorporates a gender dimension into all aspects its work, where appropriate and relevant, and works with partners such as UN Women and the CTITF Office to increase the focus on these issues throughout its activities in facilitating Member States’ implementation of the relevant Council resolutions.
The Committee’s meeting arrangements may be consulted in the UN Journal, which will also indicates whether the meeting is closed or open session. Closed meetings are for Committee members and invited representatives from Member States and organizations only. To request admission to open meetings and briefings, please consult the announcements in the UN Journal.
The Committee’s regular plenary meetings are closed meetings at which members of the Committee formally plan, discuss, approve, or take note of country assessments, activities, events and procedures. Representatives of Member States and international and regional organizations may be invited to participate in open sessions to brief the Committee on new and emerging trends, developments, challenges and good practices, and for the purpose of maintaining tailored dialogue on relevant regional and thematic issues. The Committee’s special meetings, events and open briefings are open to Member States and international and regional organizations. Pursuant to resolution 2129 (2013), the Committee and CTED also organize open briefings and events with members of the Global Research Network, civil society, and the private sector. Those meetings and events serve as useful platforms for the exchange of information on new and emerging trends, threats and challenges; interaction among stakeholders; the sharing of good practices; the discussion of capacity-building needs; the planning of technical assistance programmes; and increasing the visibility of the work of the Committee and CTED.
Yes. Parliaments play a vital role in combatting the global terrorism threat by facilitating Member States’ implementation of the relevant international counter-terrorism instruments and General Assembly and Council resolutions. CTED and parliamentarians interact through events held in New York and through CTED’s participation in events organized by parliamentary bodies. Parliaments can assist the Committee and CTED by reviewing draft national counter-terrorism legislation with a view to ensuring that the draft conforms to the international counter-terrorism regime and with States’ obligations under international law, including human rights law, humanitarian law and refugee law. Parliaments can also help expedite the process of introducing amendments to existing legislation to ensure that emerging terrorist threats are rapidly and effectively addressed by Governments in accordance with an appropriate legal framework. Parliaments may also encourage and guide Governments in their development of comprehensive national counter-terrorism strategies.
CTED established a Trust Fund in 2011 to receive voluntary contributions to support activities relating to its mandate, including technical assistance facilitation. CTED welcomes voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund and may be contacted at cted [at] un.org.
Since 1963, the international community has adopted 19 international counter-terrorism legal instruments. Developed under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), they are open to participation by all Member States.