UN Headquarters

20 November 2012

Remarks to Special meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee [delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General]

Ban Ki-moon

Today we draw attention to one of the critical factors in terrorist activities: the methods which are used to fund them. This special meeting is thus of great practical significance for global action against terrorism. On behalf of the Secretary-General I thank Ambassador Puri for using India’s Presidency of the Security Council to raise awareness of this crucial issue.

Let me make a few brief introductory remarks.

Terrorism poses a threat to the security and welfare of people everywhere. While countering terrorism is seldom mentioned when we speak about the Millennium Development Goals, terrorist attacks are seriously hampering the efforts of many countries and communities to make advances in standards of living and human well-being. In northern Mali, to cite just one example, the lives of millions of people have been affected by the brutal acts of the occupying extremist groups.

The United Nations has growingly become engaged in the global efforts to develop strategies and programmes aiming at cutting off funding for terrorism while upholding UN values and norms.

Terrorist operations need funding not just to buy weapons and materials to make horrific explosive devices. They need it to support their networks; to recruit personnel; to travel and communicate with each other; and to conduct training and reconnaissance. If they are prevented from getting funds, their capacity to carry out attacks are severely curtailed.

The prevention and suppression of financing terrorism is one of the core requirements of Security Council resolution 1373. It is also an integral part of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in 2006. I was proud to be President of the General Assembly during the negotiations and at the adoption of this strategy.

In outlining how the Member States and the international community can pursue this effort more effectively, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has played an influential role. Through the 40 plus 9 Anti-Money-Laundering and Terrorist Financing Standards, and through its network of regional bodies, the Task Force has promoted policies and mechanisms that have greatly enhanced our ability to prevent funding of terrorism.

I therefore welcome the work that has recently been completed in FATF to revise those standards in light of more than a decade’s experience, in order to sharpen them and make them even more useful to Member States. Today’s meeting offers an opportunity to review and better understand these revised standards.

As in other areas of counter-terrorism, when adopting and implementing measures against terrorist financing, we need to bear in mind the importance of respecting human rights and the rule of law. This is necessary not only to preserve our moral authority, but also to avoid fuelling grievances which terrorists exploit to justify their unjustifiable actions, to gain safe haven in different communities and to recruit new affiliates.

Today’s meeting is a valuable initiative to counter and prevent terrorism. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for your foresight and engagement, and wish you a productive meeting.

Thank you.