The top United Nations political official today urged participants at an international counter-terrorism conference to work with the Organization to enhance regional coordination and coherence to overcome the threat of terrorism and extremism.
“We see terrorism expanding its geographic range, reaching distant and unlikely corners and not confined to a select group of countries or a single region,” Jeffrey Feltman, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs said at the opening session of the International Counter-Terrorism Focal Points Conference in Geneva.
“The UN is your partner in enhancing regional links,” Mr. Feltman told participants of the two-day conference, who included more than 200 Government officials, national counter-terrorism experts, UN representatives and practitioners from international, regional and civil society organizations.
He also highlighted the need to learn from each other and work across sectors to address socio-economic and political conditions, such as unemployment, lack of education and absence of rule of law and good governance, which “let terrorists gain sympathy, spread extremism and develop a narrative in support for violence.”
Mr. Feltman also noted the importance of national counter-terrorism focal points to ensure that all relevant sections of Government, including those who are not traditionally associated with security, working together.
“Through this Conference, the United Nations intends to further emphasize the critical role that counter-terrorism coordinators play in the fight against terrorism at the national, regional and international levels,” the UN official said.
Emphasizing the importance of human rights in finding sustainable solutions to countering extremism and terrorism, Mr. Feltman said that “if we allow compromise on human rights, we are not countering terrorism but letting it get its way.”
The UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), as set up in 2005, brings together 31 UN entities, working under mandates from the General Assembly, the Security Council and various specialized agencies, funds and programmes.
It works with Member States to provide necessary policy support and technical assistance.
Several Security Council mandated bodies, including the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Al-Qaida Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Teams and the 1540 Monitoring Team and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are key partners under the CTITF framework.