Regional focus

Regional focus 2019-01-25T14:55:13+00:00

Regions and subregions in the Global Implementation Survey of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) by Member States (or GIS) are categorized as follows:

AFRICA: North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa

ASIA: Pacific Islands, South-East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Western Asia, East Asia

LATIN AMERICA: Central America, Caribbean, South America

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA: Eastern Europe, Western European, North American and other States, South-East Europe

The threat of terrorism is global, but varies from region to region. Even within the same continent, the situation can vary from subregion to subregion (click on each region to learn more).

North Africa: Domestic and external political tensions that emerged in the aftermath of the “Arab spring” have increased the vulnerability of this subregion, which must also confront a major influx of migrants en route to Europe. The lack of border-control capacity in some States is a source of concern for their neighbours. Foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) returnees also pose a potential risk, and links with organized criminal networks that facilitate funding for terrorist acts help sustain terrorist groups.

In East Africa, political tensions in coastal areas and access to small arms and light weapons threaten to engender further radicalization. Part of the subregion is also highly vulnerable to exploitation as a terrorist safe haven and for the planning and preparation of terrorist acts elsewhere. The subregion suffers from ongoing conflict, and States’ implementation of the international counter-terrorism instruments is very limited. The use of cash is widespread, and detecting cross-border cash couriers is also a significant challenge.

In Southern Africa, States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have taken steps to address a number of shared risks, including porous borders, low institutional capacity, and the lack of terrorism-specific legislation or specialized investigation and prosecution capacity. Governments of this subregion are also concerned about movements of persons and potential abuse of asylum systems, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, trafficking in drugs, and human smuggling.

West Africa: Political instability, corruption, economic crises, and low operational capacity make this part of Africa particularly vulnerable to terrorism. Lengthy and porous borders also pose a particular challenge. The subregion’s rich natural resources attract transnational organized criminal groups – especially in remote areas with limited State authority and easy access to border crossings – that fund the operations of terrorist groups within an overall framework of shifting alliances and interests. Drugs and human trafficking also constitute lucrative sources of income that can jeopardize State stability.

In Central Africa, most States suffer from porous borders, weak governance, and high poverty levels. Two States of the subregion host United Nations peacekeeping missions and their Governments exercise limited control of their territories. There has been an upsurge in the circulation of small arms and light weapons, and there is a risk of further radicalization within certain communities. Longstanding local disputes, inter-State rivalries, and socio-economic challenges provide terrorist groups with fertile ground for continued growth.

Pacific Islands: The terrorism risk to this subregion is considered to be relatively low because of the subregion’s geographical isolation, limited transportation, small size, and relatively unsophisticated financial and commercial sectors. Nevertheless, the subregion is vulnerable to use as a terrorist safe haven because major resource constraints hinder the implementation of required countermeasures.

In South-East Asia, domestic and foreign criminal groups are actively engaged in, inter alia, trafficking and smuggling of people and travel-document forgery. Owing to their highly fragmented topography, the archipelago States are particularly vulnerable to weapons smuggling and terrorist movement. Terrorist groups in this subregion are struggling to raise funds and may therefore attempt to become ISIL affiliates in order to secure financing.

In South Asia, some States have focused on combating entrenched terrorist networks such as Al-Qaida and the Taliban. More recently, however, several States of the subregion have also begun to address the threat posed by ISIL, its recruiters, and foreign terrorist fighters, including returning fighters. Reports that one of ISIL’s objectives is to expand its influence in the subregion suggest that the threat posed by returned foreign terrorist fighters may increase and destabilize the region.

In Central Asia and the Caucasus, major security threats include proximity to conflict areas, illicit drugs and arms trafficking, and risks associated with large-scale labour migration. Both Central Asia and the Caucasus are affected by unresolved territorial disputes, whether internal or with neighbouring States. This undermines the capacity of States of the two subregions to cooperate in countering the terrorist threat. Difficult terrain and lack of resources undermine States’ capacity to protect and manage their borders.

In Western Asia, proximity to the conflict in Syria, the activities of various terrorist organizations, the porous and lengthy nature of many land borders, and border-control weaknesses continue to exacerbate the terrorist risk. The continuous displacement of people from conflict zones also gives rise to significant political and economic tensions for Member States located in their immediate vicinity. Most States have tended to focus too narrowly on law enforcement measures, rather than on action to address terrorist recruitment via the Internet and social media.

In East Asia, States must continue to strengthen border security measures, cooperation, and information-sharing in order to address the heightened security risks stemming from evolving terrorist threats, including those linked to international sporting events. The expected increase in passenger traffic and tourism stemming from the three forthcoming Olympic Games will pose significant security challenges.

In Central America, the overall threat remains relatively low. However, the activities of violent drug-trafficking organizations continue to cause significant concern. The emergence of powerful organized crime groups and drug cartels has caused an upsurge in violence, corruption, impunity, erosion of the rule of law, and human rights violations. However, there is no evidence to suggest that these groups have political or ideological motivations or have adopted terrorist tactics, though. Other challenges include corruption, fragile Government institutions, weak legislation, and insufficient resources.

In the Caribbean, the threat of terrorism remains low, but the risk of radicalization and recruitment to terrorist organizations is growing. The foremost security challenge continues to derive from escalating levels of criminal activity and their debilitating effects on society. Because of its geography, the subregion is vulnerable to maritime criminal activity, including the smuggling of drugs, guns, and people. Other challenges include human and material resource constraints.

In South America, the terrorist threat is generally perceived to be very low. However, the region continues to suffer from insufficient intelligence gathering, poor information sharing, lax screening of travellers, inadequate laws for prosecuting terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters, and weak border controls. Links between organized crime and terrorists have strengthened, and terrorist sympathizers are thought to have provided financial support to terrorist groups in other regions.

In Eastern Europe, the terrorist risk is comparatively low in most States. However, States engaged in military operations abroad, including against terrorist organizations, believe that they may face an increased terrorist risk. States of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) or the European Union and its (extended) Schengen zone face vulnerabilities stemming from irregular migration flows, visa-free travel, or entirely free movement across borders.

In Western European, North American, and other States, the terrorist threat to many States has increased significantly. At least one-third of the States of these subregions have been the victims of successful or thwarted terrorist attacks in their territories or against their institutions or assets overseas. Thousands of foreign terrorist fighters have left States of this subgroup or transited through them to conflict zones. Terrorism propaganda and recruitment via the Internet and social media pose a significant challenge.

South-East Europe is a major transit route for movement of, or trafficking in, people, funds, arms, and goods from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe. The subregion is also confronted with vast flows of refugees and asylum seekers from other parts of the world, in particular conflict zones. Preventing the movement of suspected foreign terrorist fighters is another huge challenge. The subregion is also extremely vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment, with high unemployment levels, historic grievances, and lack of trust in Government making some States more vulnerable than others.

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