Moscow, Russian Federation

26 April 2016

Secretary-General's message to the Fifth Moscow Conference on International Security [delivered by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]

I am pleased to convey my greetings to this Fifth Moscow Conference on International Security.  I thank the Government of the Russian Federation for hosting. 

This gathering is focusing on the shared global threat of terrorism and violent extremism.  These challenges transcend cultures and geographical boundaries. They should not be associated with any one religion, nationality or ethnic group. 

Terrorists pose a direct assault on the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They undermine efforts to maintain peace and security, foster sustainable development, promote the respect for human rights and deliver much needed humanitarian aid.

Some terrorist groups are controlling territory, resources and populations, and operate across borders. The interconnection between protracted conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism has fueled destabilization and  produced major suffering.

In order to support Member States more effectively given the broadening scope of terrorism and violent extremism, I have initiated within the United Nations enhanced coordination.  The Working Groups of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), comprising 38 UN entities, have been reinvigorated and now also explicitly work on our response to Foreign Terrorist Fighters in line UN Security Council Resolution 2178. These entities, including the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), assist in building the capacity of Member States across all four pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, often based on assessments conducted and gaps identified by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED). In short, I have asked the entire UN system to "act as one UN" on what I consider one of the greatest challenges of our time.
While recognizing the importance of security measures, I believe that to be effective, we will need to engage earlier and address the drivers of violent extremism and terrorism.  Upholding human rights is crucial for these efforts.  Policies that turn people against each other and alienate already marginalized groups play into the hands of the very violent extremists that we seek to counteract.
Later this month, I will issue a Report on the Implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which takes stock of the challenges and charts the way forward.

I hope that Member States will find consensus on a strong outcome resolution that reinforces international unity in the face of the divisions that terrorist groups and violent extremists seek to create and exploit.

The UN stands ready to leverage its universal membership and convening power to further strengthen international cooperation.   

Once again, thank you for your engagement and leadership.  I wish you a successful conference.