THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
Following are remarks by the President of the UN General Assembly at the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on the Sixth Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, 26 June 2018:
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
This is the sixth review of our Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
And, the level of activity and participation we saw, over the last few weeks, shows this Strategy is as crucial as ever.
I want to start by thanking our two committed co-facilitators: Ambassador Kai Sauer, of Finland, and Ambassador Sima Sami Bahous, of Jordan. I also want to acknowledge all the work Member States put into this process – both through their diplomats here, in New York, and delegates who travelled from capital.
As we are to adopt our latest strategy, I will make three points.
First, I want to reiterate that this Global Strategy is not a global solution.
This document is not a magic formula. And it is certainly not a rulebook.
Because, terrorism is very complex.
It is not linked to any country, religion or ethnicity. It changes, between different periods, months or years, different places, and different terrorist groups.
That is why a one-size-fits-all approach would never work.
And that is why this Strategy does not attempt to create one.
Each country and government will respond to terrorism, in their own ways.
But no one country can ever be immune to terrorism– and no one country can ever hold all of the answers.
Which is why international cooperation is vital.
We will be stronger if we work together.
And, this Strategy gives us an opportunity to do so.
It sets our common goals. It allows us to prioritise. And it gives us an overarching vision, for the future.
The Secretary-General’s report and this General Assembly debate, are also valuable tools. They allow us to keep our fingers on the pulse, to learn from national experiences, and to hear each other’s views and concerns.
My second point, today, is about the relationship between the United Nations and counter-terrorism.
Look, we cannot skirt around this. We need to address it head-on.
Frankly, the United Nations’ role regarding counter-terrorism is a tricky one.
This phenomenon did not exist, when the UN Charter was signed.
So, this Organization has had to adapt. Fast.
Nearly 17 years ago, something happened a few miles from here, which changed the course of our history.
9/11 wasn’t the start of terrorism. But it was, I believe, the first time the world really understood the scale of this threat.
And, since then, we have been working to find the right balance, for the role of the United Nations. And we need to keep working on this.
But the simple fact is: the need is there. Many Member States are actively seeking the United Nations’ support.
And, the United Nations counter-terrorism framework is doing some very valuable work. From building the capacity of youth groups to prevent violent extremism, to developing practical guidelines for national authorities.
Also, work has been done, within our own system, to streamline and evolve. Thanks to a reform initiative of the Secretary-General, we have a new United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office. This means that there is now one address for people to turn to. And it has taken on much-needed coordination tasks.
My third point is more of a warning: we cannot afford to underestimate the threat facing us.
We have all read the reports. ISIS has lost a lot of territory. It is in a much weaker position, now, than it was when we last reviewed this Strategy.
So, if this was a traditional battle, would could say that ISIS is losing it.
But here is the thing: this is nothing like regular warfare.
ISIS, Al-Qaida and their affiliates have shown that they do not represent a traditional security threat. They use methods we could only have imagined, in our worst nightmares. They have broken all laws of humanity. And they have proven themselves to be able to adapt, to new contexts and situations.
So, we cannot afford to become complacent.
The danger will persist.
And, as before, it will change with time. There will be new dynamics. New technology. New threats. But also, new opportunities for solutions.
And we need to stay on top of all this. We need to work with each other. We need to compare and contrast. We need to pool our capacities and experiences.
And, we need to deliver a strong message: that we do not – and will not – accept international terrorism.
What better place, to deliver it, than this hall? In the General Assembly, every Member State has a voice. This sometimes makes for lengthy processes (and experts in this room know exactly what I am talking about!). But our outcomes are legitimate – and our voice is loud.
So, thank you all, again, for being here.
Let’s make sure this Strategy is implemented on the ground.
And let’s keep raising our voices – together – against terrorism.