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High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States

Statement on behalf of Norway by State Secretary Mrs. Ingvild Stub in High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States, 29 June 2018.

Let me start by thanking Secretary General Guterres and Under Secretary General Voronkov for their leadership in addressing terrorism and violent extremism.

It is important for the international community to stand together against these threats.

Norway welcomes the unanimously adoption of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by the General Assembly earlier this week.

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 still not eliminated and it continues to mount attacks.

Terrorism and violent extremism represent a truly global threat.

It affects us all and is not limited to any one ideology, religion or system of belief.

My own work place, the Prime Minister’s Office, is still in a temporary location seven years after it was hit by a bomb planted by a right-wing extremist.

However, we must be clear, terrorism and violent extremism can never be justified regardless of motivation.

The complex nature of this phenomenon presents us with a demanding situation.

It must be met with a comprehensive, long-term, whole-of-society approach.

The Norwegian approach is based on broad cooperation between authorities and civil society, both at the national and local levels.

For this to be successful, it has to be a genuine two-way dialogue. Civil society is an interlocutor and a stake holder, not a service provider.

The basis is the National Action Plan for Preventing Radicalization and Violent Extremism.

The same structures are involved regarding preventing radicalization, prosecuting returned foreign fighters and re-integration to the society. 

By increasing focus on the preventive measures against violent extremism, we are shifting towards a more proactive and not a reactive mode.

I would like to highlight three points that will be important for the road ahead.

First, national governments have the primary responsibility for countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism.

However, we need partnerships.

Governments should work closely with a range of stakeholders, including civil society.

Women, youth and local authorities play an important role in efforts to tackle these threats.

Their voices and experiences provide valuable input to policy direction and the formulation of national strategies and action plans.

Second, Agenda 2030, and particularly Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, establishes that security and development are mutually reinforcing.

The high ambitions set for the agenda cannot be achieved without integrating the prevention of violent extremism in the SDGs. 

Third, we must ensure that all efforts to address terrorism and prevent violent extremism are respectful of the rule of law and in accordance with international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.

A growing body of evidence shows that human rights violations by states, whether real or perceived, are often the tipping point for individuals to become radicalized to violence.

In conclusion, Mr. Chair,

The international community must stand together and adapt to the changing threat landscape.

We need a strong UN to show global leadership.

By emphasizing prevention of violent extremism, we are addressing not only the challenges of today, but stand ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Thank you.