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GA: Review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy

Statement by Senior Adviser Juliana Baffoe on the review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, 26 June 2018.

| General Assembly

Mr. President,

Let me start by thanking the Permanent Representatives of Jordan and Finland, Ms. Sima Sami Bahous and Mr. Kai Sauer, for their excellent work in co-facilitating this sixth review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. I would also be remiss not to convey my sincerest thanks to Muaz and Niina who have labored so hard and guided our discussions so effectively. Today’s consensual agreement is in large part due to their leadership, professionalism and congeniality. 

The threat from terrorism and violent extremism remains high and continues to evolve.

Although substantial progress has been made in reducing the threat from ISIL in Syria and Iraq, the group is not eliminated and it continues to mount attacks. The UN must play a central role in our collective response to terrorism and in preventing violent extremism. 

Norway believes that a balanced implementation of the Global Strategy is our best way forward. That includes addressing the root causes and upstream factors of violent extremism, as highlighted in the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. Norway continues to support strongly the Plan, as it provides a much-needed emphasis on Pillars 1 and 4 of the Strategy.

Preventing violent extremism entails ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law. It requires that we address both push and pull factors. We must ensure that the values of tolerance, pluralism and understanding are embedded in our societies. We must realize the potential of our youth, arguably our most important asset in the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism.

Civil society organizations are powerful counterweights to violent extremist movements. Moreover, they offer a space for constructive engagement between a society and the state. A “whole of society” approach to prevention of violent extremism requires careful attention to human rights, an approach, which includes the civil society at local level as key partners and stakeholders. Women’s experiences and leadership skills must be recognized and utilized. As Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has repeatedly recalled, it is essential that we address the gender dimensions of violent extremism.

As co-host, together with Jordan, of the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism, Norway is particularly pleased to register that policies seeking to prevent violent extremism are now a core priority of Member States as well as across the UN’s organization. 

Mr. President, The Member States have the primary responsibility for implementing measures to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism. Let me highlight some of Norway’s efforts since the last Review:

  • Norway hosted a Global High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of      Violent Extremism, in partnership with UNDP, in Oslo on 23-24 May.
  • We have strengthen our “whole of society” approach by highlighting the role of women, youth and civil society on re-integration and rehabilitation.
  • We have focused on researched based analysis as a foundation for policy development.
  • As part of our prisons and probation services, we have established a mentor-program for prisoners serving sentences for terrorism, in order to prepare them for re-integration to society when released.
  • Finally, the police has increased its presence online to prevent      crime in general, but also to prevent radicalization and violent      extremism.

Mr. President, Norway is pleased to note the cross-regional support for the agenda for the Prevent Violent Extremism, as reflected in the resolution. We are also very appreciative of the way in which the Office of Counter-Terrorism has made prevention of violent extremism an integral part of the United Nations counter terrorism efforts.  In addition, several Member States and regional organizations have already adopted or are developing PVE Action Plans, with the support of the United Nations. 

We are also pleased to note that the resolution now explicitly recognizes the relevance of the Agenda 2030. Security and development are always mutually reinforcing.

Moreover, the Review of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy has made it clear that the Strategy requires us to ensure respect for human rights and international law, to partner with civil society and local communities, to empower our youth and ensure full and complete gender equality. These are all critical principles that we have a collective responsibility to respect and implement.

In closing, let me again thank the Secretary General for his commitment and leadership to improving the UN’s ability to counter terrorism and violent extremism. We look forward to working with him as well as Member States as we continue our efforts to implement the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.