In Focus

Report of the Secretary-General on Terrorism
Activities of the UN System in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

The General Assembly, in its resolution 70/291, requested the Secretary-General to submit a report no later than April 2018 on progress made in the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, including suggestions for the future implementation of the Strategy by the United Nations system.

Over the past three decades, the frequency, deadliness and geographical reach of acts of terrorism have grown rapidly and evolved into an unprecedented threat to international peace, security and development. International and internal conflicts have also grown in intensity and number, destroying societies and destabilizing entire regions. Terrorism is now one of the most profound challenges of our time. No country is immune from this threat, and no country can address this challenge alone. The cross-border nature of the financing, recruitment and planning of acts of terrorism is a common feature of the phenomenon and therefore requires a collective response. Providing support to Member States so they are able to respond to this global threat in a balanced and effective manner is one of the Secretary-General’s top priorities.

The United Nations continues to support Member States in developing and implementing responses that take into consideration all four pillars of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which comprise: (a) measures to address 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 in that regard; and (d) measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism. Responses based on a balanced implementation of all four pillars have tended to be more successful at preventing and countering terrorist attacks.

Challenges to countering terrorism are compounded by rapid developments in closed communications technologies, such as the dark web and encryption, as terrorist groups quickly adapt and make use of these developments to facilitate their financing, recruitment and propaganda, and by the acquisition of weapons and improvements in logistics. This has had a devastating impact on local communities across the world, particularly with regard to the most marginalized members of society. The forthcoming review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy will provide Member States with the opportunity to continue to guide the content of the Strategy and its priorities.

The primary responsibility for the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy rests with Member States, and the United Nations has an important role in promoting coordination and coherence at the national, regional and global levels so as to best provide assistance to Member States, upon their request, for the balanced implementation of the Strategy.

In June 2017, the General Assembly took a further step in that direction and adopted resolution 71/291 on strengthening the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. By the same resolution, the Assembly also established the Office of Counter-Terrorism and appointed a new Under-Secretary-General of the Office of Counter-Terrorism for the purpose of enhancing the ability of the Organization to better respond to the growing needs of the international community to counter terrorism.

The present report, reissued in June 2018, outlines the key trends and challenges in the evolving global terrorism landscape, and emphasizes the importance of international cooperation to counter terrorism effectively. It provides an overview of the international response to the transnational threat of terrorism and some of the key deficits that must still be addressed in the near future. It concludes by offering observations and recommendations on ways to forge new international counter-terrorism partnerships, which will be key to stay ahead of the threat posed by terrorist groups.

The Report is divided into sections on:

• Evolving global terrorism landscape

• Addressing the deficit in multilateral cooperation

• Progress made in the implementation of the United Nations

• Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by United Nations entities and Member States • Enhancing the international response to the terrorist threat

• Forging new international counter-terrorism partnerships

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