In Focus

Reports from the Secretary-General on Terrorism



Fifth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat


New York, 31 May 2017. In adopting its resolution 2253 (2015), the Security Council expressed its determination to address the threat posed to international peace and security by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) and associated individuals and groups, and emphasized the importance of cutting off its access to funds and preventing it from planning and facilitating attacks. In paragraph 97, the Council requested that I provide an initial strategic-level report on the threat, followed by updates every four months.

The present report is the fifth such report (see S/2016/92, S/2016/501, S/2016/830 and S/2017/97) and was prepared by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1526 (2004) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, and in close collaboration with the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and other United Nations entities and international organizations.

Security Council resolution 2253 (2015), adopted at a Council meeting held at the level of ministers of finance, reinforced the existing international counter-financing of terrorism framework by calling on Member States to move vigorously and decisively to cut off the flow of funds and other financial assets and economic resources to ISIL. The present report focuses on current sources of terrorism financing and the evolution in financing methods; the measures put in place by Member States to deny funds to ISIL and its affiliates and disrupt terrorist networks; and the efforts of the United Nations and its partners to strengthen States’ capacities in that regard. The report also addresses measures and initiatives — including prosecution and rehabilitation strategies — developed to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters (see Council resolution 2178 (2014)) who return from conflict zones, whether to their respective States of origin or to other States.


Capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy


New York, 3 April 2017. The present report is issued in response to paragraph 70 of General Assembly resolution 70/291, adopted on 1 July 2016 during the fifth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In the resolution, the Assembly requested:

The Secretary-General to review, in consultation with the General Assembly, the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States, upon their request, in implementing the Strategy in a balanced manner, including by strengthening cooperation with other international and regional organizations and improving the mobilization of resources necessary for capacity-building projects, with a view to providing concrete suggestions to the Assembly in this regard, by May 2017, for consideration by the Assembly during its seventy-first session.

This review was conducted in response to that request and in consultation with the General Assembly. The President of the Assembly convened an informal meeting on 22 February 2017, at which I presented my suggestion to strengthen the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the Strategy and heard the views of Member States. Furthermore, in response to a note verbale dated 23 February 2017, 28 Member States and three organizations on behalf of their members, namely, the European Union, the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, provided written submissions.

The adoption, by consensus, of resolution 70/291 symbolized the international community’s strong resolve to act in unison to address the rapidly evolving phenomenon of terrorism. Through that resolution, the General Assembly also demonstrated its pivotal role in updating and implementing the Strategy and its four pillars: (a) measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; (b) measures to prevent and combat terrorism; (c) measures to build States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard; and (d) measures to ensure the respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.1 Since the adoption of the Strategy in 2006, the goal of the biennial reviews of the Assembly has been to make the Strategy a living document, attuned to changing priorities.

The fifth review of the General Assembly, embodied in resolution 70/291, was aimed at updating the Strategy to more effectively address the evolving terrorist threat that the international community faces. Notwithstanding progress made by Member States and their recent military advances, terrorist groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and Boko Haram continue to pose a threat to international peace and security. In addition, terrorism has a devastating impact on sustainable development, human rights and humanitarian action at the global, regional and national levels.

In order to address this challenge, our counter-terrorism efforts need to be part of a global, comprehensive approach that supports the balanced implementation of the Strategy. While this review of the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the Strategy demonstrates progress, a lot more needs to be done.

Guided by the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the restructuring of the United Nations counter-terrorism architecture suggested in this report will allow us to work better together and multiply our impact on terrorism at the national, regional and international levels. Such restructuring does not intend to change the existing mandates of the various United Nations entities. In full respect of the principle of sovereignty, it should improve the capability of the United Nations to assist Member States. Those suggestions are consistent with the purpose of the overall management reform of the Organization, which, among other things, is to seek greater efficiencies, simplification, coordination and coherence.

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