Terrorist and violent extremist groups continue to find new ways to carry out attacks, finance their activities, spread propaganda and recruit new personnel to their ranks. The threat from terrorist groups continues to rise, and we are seeing atrocities and attacks on innocent people in all corners of the world.
The primary responsibility for implementing measures to counter terrorism and violent extremism lies with Member States. In this respect, national action plans on preventing violent extremism are important tools.
In 2010, Norway adopted its first action plan. This plan has since been revised and updated at regular intervals, and is used actively to guide our efforts in this area.
In April 2016, the Storting (Norwegian parliament) adopted a white paper on global security challenges in Norway's foreign policy, focusing on the four areas of terrorism, organised crime, piracy and cyber security. These four global security challenges all pose serious threats to international stability and development, and are closely interlinked.
Norway will help to prevent, respond to and combat these security challenges internationally by promoting the more frequent exchange of knowledge at the national and international level, and by helping to build capacity in vulnerable states and areas.
Development is crucial to countering terrorism and violent extremism, because without development, the extremists will continue to be able to expand their bases and recruit new terrorists. The UN Sustainable Development Goals reflect this, especially goal 16, to promote peaceful and inclusive societies and provide justice for all. Norway also attaches great importance to ensuring full respect for human rights and the rule of law in all efforts to counter terrorism.
Norway welcomes and strongly supports the Secretary-General's Plan of Action for Preventing Violent Extremism. Violent extremism is unacceptable, regardless of its political, ideological or religious motivations. The UN plays a crucial role in this respect, and the Plan of Action is timely. The world is changing rapidly, and our policies and action must continually adapt to these changes.
In the Plan of Action, the Secretary-General identifies some of the factors that may lead to the development of violent extremism, including a lack of socioeconomic opportunities, marginalisation, poor governance and violations of the rule of law. In order to address these issues properly, joint efforts involving a range of actors are required.
Terrorist groups and extremists tend to target women specifically. Violence against women and curtailment of their rights have become intentional strategies. Women have always played a range of different roles in conflicts: as victims, mediators and peace activists, but also as perpetrators. Extremists now actively recruit women to their cause. If ever we needed a gender analysis of conflict, it is now. Because the terrorist groups and extremists we are up against are strategic in their approach to gender.
Norway is a proud supporter of the Women's Alliance for Security Leadership and of the Norwegian documentary film maker, Deeyah Khan. These are peace activists who are making a real difference. Their efforts are truly impressive, whether they are de-radicalising ISIL sympathisers in Iraq, negotiating humanitarian access with Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, or promoting a counter-narrative that, rather than seeking to tear apart the logic of destructive messages, seeks to create constructive messages of solidarity and peace.
We want our policies and programmes to be informed by their insights. That is why Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, together with the leaders of the Women's Alliance and UN Women, launched the Global Solutions Exchange during this year's General Assembly: a formalised dialogue that aims to ensure that the voices of women on the front lines reach policy makers at the highest level.
Finally, on a more practical note, we see the merits of the proposal submitted by the EU to rationalise the work on this topic in the Sixth Committee. By including this item on the agenda on a biannual basis, it may be possible to avoid duplication with the Plenary resolution on the review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.