Vienna, Austria

12 October 2009

Secretary-General's message to International Workshop for National Counter-Terrorism Focal Points [delivered by Jean-Paul Laborde, Special Advisor to the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]

I thank Austria, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, as well as the other co-sponsoring Member States –Costa Rica, Japan and Slovakia –for organizing this event. This meeting is the first such gathering of counter-terrorism focal points from Governments around the world. It is thus a milestone in our efforts to increase cooperation and coordination between national and international players in our collective efforts to fight this menace.

In 2006, and again last year, all Member States of the United Nations adopted and re-affirmed the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. . Your presence here today is yet another indication of our collective recognition that terrorism is a global challenge that requires a global and integrated response, rooted in the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The primary responsibility to implement the UN Strategy rests with Member States. To fulfill that responsibility effectively, and particularly to ensure inter-agency coordination on the Strategy's four pillars, the designation of a dedicated office and focal point by Governments is a necessary and important step.

Effective counter-terrorism efforts reach into multiple fields. In addition to security and law enforcement, less traditional areas such as education, human rights, socio-economic development and civil society participation are also an important part of the picture. Your role as focal points can ensure a holistic national response. You can promote the participation of the relevant national ministries. You can provide a means for the exchange of information between domestic and foreign counterparts. You can, in short, advance global counter-terrorism efforts beyond what we have achieved to date.

At the multilateral level, the role of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force is of crucial importance. With the participation of more than two dozen entities from across the UN system, the Task Force ensures coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the UN system and helps Member States identify good practices in a wide range of fields.

Our collective efforts can succeed only through seamless cooperation at all levels. That cooperation begins with you. Thank you for your engagement, and please accept my best wishes for a productive workshop.