Creation of a new office for counter-terrorim

Statement by Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen at the General Assembly informal meeting on the creation of a new office for counter-terrorim, 22 February 2017.

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Let me start by thanking you, Mr. Secretary-General, for your efforts in strengthening the capabilities of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.

The international security landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years. Threats from non-state actors in the form of terrorism and violent extremism are growing and converging. Non-state actors have become major sources for conflict and instability in an increasing number of regions. The nature of conflict is becoming increasingly complex.

We are therefore heartened to see that you, Mr. Secretary-General, have made the pursuit of peace in a conflict-torn world your overarching priority. More than ever, we need an effective, cohesive and adaptable UN that is equipped to counter and tackle the challenges posed by terrorism and violent extremism.

Norway believes that the proposed Counter Terrorism Office headed by an Under Secretary General with a direct reporting line to the Secretary-General would give the UN more coherence and provide for better strategic leadership and external and internal communication.

We are confident that the proposal will improve the UN System’s ability to implement all four pillars of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy in a cohesive and coordinated way. The UN’s ability for resource mobilization and support of member states through capacity building efforts and sharing of best practices will be manifestly enhanced.

Since the UN adopted its Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in 2006 there has been too much emphasis on combating terrorism by military and security means. We must also address the root causes and upstream factors of violent extremism, as highlighted by Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.

For the UN to respond effectively to contemporary challenges, it must streamline and coordinate core activities related to conflict prevention, development, education and other fields considered essential for countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. A clear connection to actors in the field will be imperative. The office must engage with actors on the ground and serve as a clearinghouse of information between relevant entities, including those in the field.

The responsibilities for the USG will have to reflect an appropriate balance and emphasis across all four pillars of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and be mindful of the strategic message that it sends. We therefore appreciate that the mandate of the proposed CT Office contains a reference to the Prevention of Violent Extremism agenda. This should be reinforced, as a holistic whole-of-society approach to counter terrorism and violent extremism are prerequisites for success.

We also believe that the office needs to partner and interact with civil society and other non-governmental stakeholders in order to be effective. One key qualification for the USG position should be that he or she has experience in both development and security as well demonstrated ability to work inclusively, cooperating effectively with a range of stakeholders including civil society actors.

In closing, let me again thank the Secretary-General for his commitment to improving the UN’s ability to counter terrorism and violent extremism. We look forward to working with you and member states to implement your vision in the most appropriate way.

Thank you very much.