UN Member States taking lead in combating terrorism – Assembly President

5 September 2008
General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim

Member States of the United Nations have taken the lead in the fight against terrorism, forging ahead with implementing the first global and common strategy to tackle the scourge, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said today.

The President convened a meeting which kicked off yesterday to review the landmark 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, with over 100 Member States taking part.

The meeting concluded today with the Assembly’s adoption of a resolution reaffirming support for the Strategy; reiterating Member States’ strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and confirming that Member States have the primary responsibility to implement the document.

The Assembly also decided to review the implementation of the Strategy again in two years time and “to consider updating it to respond to changes,” according to the resolution.

“The active participation of States… is a clear indication that the Strategy is politically important for Member States and relevant for their counter-terrorism efforts,” Mr. Kerim told reporters in New York.

The Strategy was adopted by the Assembly in September 2006 after a year of sometimes fractious negotiations as countries worked to overcome their differences.

“To put it bluntly, it was able to rise above political differences and endless debates to agree on what needs to be done and what is doable,” the President said.

The Strategy focuses on four main pillars of action: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building State capacity and bolstering the role of the UN; and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law against the backdrop of the fight against terrorism.

Member States’ statements to the meeting have shown that national, bilateral, regional and global initiatives are underway, “which is exactly what the General Assembly has called for in the Strategy,” said Mr. Kerim, who has made implementing the document one of his top priorities.

Also speaking to reporters today, Robert Orr, who chairs the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, said that many positive steps have been taken since the promulgation of the Strategy.

“Prior to the adoption of the Strategy, we had a lot of good resolutions at the United Nations, we had some concrete activities at the UN, but we did not have a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism that was universally accepted,” he said. “When this Strategy was accepted, it was a truly significant event.”

Mr. Orr said that many gains had been made at the national level, but stressed that the global stage had seen much progress as well in the past two years, with 24 UN entities now working regularly with each other on counter-terrorism, a first for the Organization.

The Strategy also places emphasis on the victims of terrorism and calls for putting in place national systems of assistance that would promote the needs of victims and their families and facilitate the normalization of their lives.

To provide a forum to assist States in their commitment to promote global solidarity in support of the victims, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening a day-long symposium on the issue on 9 September in New York, the first event of its kind.


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