18 March 2013

Secretary-General's message to International Conference on "Strengthening Cooperation in Preventing Terrorism" [Delivered by Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime]

It is a great pleasure to greet all participants in this International Conference on Strengthening Cooperation in Preventing Terrorism.  I thank the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan for hosting this important gathering.

Our shared efforts must be guided by a shared conviction:  Nothing can justify terrorism.  No cause or grievance can be accepted as an excuse to commit a terrorist act.

Over the last decade, the international community has joined together to combat the menace of terrorism.  In 2006, the General Assembly unanimously adopted the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  I later convened the Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, which underscored the vital role of the Strategy and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.  Last June, the General Assembly reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the full implementation of the Strategy, and reasserted the fundamental importance of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in countering terrorism, as reflected in pillar IV of the Strategy. Member States also explicitly recognized the role that civil society can play and expressed their resolve to support victims of terrorism.  Much more, however, needs to be done.

In a globalized society, terrorists are actively exploiting information technology, the internet and social media networks to incite, recruit, finance and perpetrate terrorist acts. Violent terrorist crimes are being carried out in a wider range of countries, demonstrating that terrorism has no nationality or religious affiliation, recognizes no borders and can not be defeated by military or law enforcement measures alone.

Fortunately, we can use the spread of information technology and the other tools
of our globalized world to connect communities and promote narratives that undermine messages of hate and division. 

We also need to intensify our efforts to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including by resolving prolonged conflicts, promoting the rule of law, protecting human rights, nurturing good governance, tolerance and inclusiveness and creating more opportunities for education, training and employment.  In this context, I appreciate the focussed support provided to Member States by the CTITF and its entities, including the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and UNODC.

This Conference, jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and graciously hosted by the Government of Azerbaijan, is an opportunity to generate ideas that promote solidarity and strengthen the capacity of States to prevent and counter acts of terrorism.  I count on your efforts to ensure that deliberations here will translate into concrete actions.  I wish you every success in this important work.