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SC: Terrorist threats to Peace and Security

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Odd-Inge Kvalheim on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, 19 August 2021.

Let me start by thanking the briefers for their comprehensive presentations, as well as the Secretary-General for his thorough biannual report. The report is a harsh reminder of the fact that ISIL, and other terrorist groups, still pose a serious threat to international peace and security.

Norway shares the Secretary General's concerns regarding the expansion of ISIL affiliates into Africa. We have witnessed numerous attacks in the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, in East and Central Africa, as well as in Mozambique.

We, therefore, express our full support to the Global Coalition against ISIL, and will -together with our international Coalition partners - maintain our highly prioritized contributions.

The fight against ISIL and other terrorist groups must continue on all levels. Experience shows that ISIL and other terrorist groups exploit existing conflicts and vulnerabilities in states and populations, including gender inequalities and sexual and gender-based violence. We must apply a gender perspective in our response to address the impact of these threats.

President,

We would like to emphasize three principles from our national counter-terrorism strategy, which takes a “whole of society” approach to terrorism. We believe these principles are globally applicable.

First: prevention. It is clear that preventing violent extremism is the most effective counterterrorism strategy. For every terror attack prevented, we will save human lives and avoid suffering. We also avoid the economic costs of an attack, as well as the larger societal impacts that result from a fear of terrorism. Prevention encompasses a wide range of measures, including education, the provision of basic services, and proactive and cross-cutting outreach from Government institutions, civil society, and the private sector.

Second: protection. It is critical to impede terrorist attacks through the development of proper infrastructure, such as physical barriers and other obstructions. In this regard, I would like to emphasize the importance of implementing existing Security Council resolutions [1373 (2001), 2396 (2017), and 2242 (2015)].

Third: aversion. We must disrupt terrorist plots through effective investigation and surveillance by police and security institutions, as well as information from the public. National authorities should make use of effective international tools, such as INTERPOL databases and border protection programs. These tools must be kept updated and supported by relevant actors, while applied proportionally and in compliance with international law and human rights.

President, here in the Security Council, it is particularly important that we identify and prioritize areas of cooperation. We believe financing of terrorism is one of these areas. The increased use of encryption technology and cryptocurrency linked to organized crime underscores the importance of coordination. Because financial instruments see no borders, we too must work across them. Like we do in fora such as the Financial Action Task Force.

We must continue our dialogue to ensure effective counterterrorism frameworks while protecting humanitarian space. Principled humanitarian action with a focus on avoiding negative unintended consequences of sanctions, and promoting humanitarian exemptions and efficient exemption procedures, must be facilitated.

Moreover, the pandemic is an underlying factor contributing to increased recruitment to violent extremism and terror organizations, which is well described in CTED trend reports. Preventing violent extremists’ misuse of cyber space and internet platforms must be a high priority.

President,

A few months ago, we heard the former Special Adviser of UNITAD, Karim Khan, brief this Council on the investigation of ISIL's atrocities in Iraq. Let us keep this in mind as a reminder of what is at stake in our international fight against terror – especially as current events unfold in Afghanistan, where we are deeply concerned by the expansion of ISIL-K in several provinces, as well as the continued presence of al-Qaida. We reaffirm the responsibility of all parties to ensure the country does not become a safe haven for terrorists.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the importance of accountability, and the continued need for action against terrorism. The adoption of this year’s review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by consensus is a strong message that we all must stand together against hate speech, violent extremism, and terrorism.