SC: International cooperation in combating terrorism

Statement by Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland in the UN Security Council meeting Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: International cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1373 (2001), 12 January 2021.

I would like to thank His Excellency, Minister Othman Jerandi, for convening this important meeting and for including a civil society briefer. Their perspectives and experience provide a valuable contribution to our work. 

And I would like to thank Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Ms. Fatima Akilu for their insightful interventions.


When Norway last sat on this Council 20 years ago, we took part in the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) through the adoption of Resolution 1373 in 2001.

We are proud to now continue this work.

We commend the CTC for efforts made since its establishment. Together with the Committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED), the CTC has made a significant contribution to the global efforts against international terrorism.


Many lessons have been learnt since the establishment of CTC.  But we would like to take this opportunity to express our support to the three suggested further steps that could be taken to strengthen our work going forward:  

First, implementation of measures under Security Council resolutions have been effective. But as CTED country assessments have shown, several countries are still in need of technical and infrastructural support in order to fully comply. More effort and better coordination is needed to ensure this support is provided.

Second, the committee must work and coordinate closely with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism as well as the subsidiary organs of the Council, especially the 12-67- and 15-40- committees. This is essential for the implementation of a one-UN approach.

And third, the whole counter-terrorism architecture must make sure to include and coordinate together also on all of the cross-cutting issues.


Taking a broader perspective on today’s topic, there can be no doubt that violent extremism and terrorism pose a threat to global peace and security. We too feel this threat. Like too many other countries, Norway has also experienced terrorist attacks.

This year marks ten years since the 22 July attacks, when a right-wing extremist took the lives of 77 people in Norway, most of them young people. And in 2019, a young man attacked a mosque, aiming to frighten and kill Muslims.

These experiences had a significant impact on Norway as a nation. Still, it is difficult for us to comprehend what it must be like for countries and societies who face terrorism on a regular basis. There can be no greater driving force for us to combat this threat together.


Norway advances a counter-terrorism policy focusing on prevention and a whole-of-society approach.  Women, young people, civil society, local communities and governments all play important roles in preventing terrorism.

In order to fight the root causes of terrorism globally, it is essential to combat poverty and marginalisation, as well as to support critical thinking and education.

Evidence also shows that empowered women help create peaceful and stable communities, which in turn lead to better prevention of violent extremism.

We cannot overemphasise the importance of a human rights-based approach. All aspects of States’ national security practice must comply with international law, and uphold human rights, even when dealing with the most serious crimes. We are deeply concerned about the increasing global mis-use of counter-terrorism measures to silence human rights defenders, political opponents and religious or ethnic minorities.

Counter-terrorism measures also must not prevent legitimate and principled humanitarian action. There is no contradiction between effective counter-terrorism efforts and humanitarian response.


In the fight against terrorism, we must consider potential future trends. CTED's trend reports and country assessments are essential in this regard.

A recent policy brief by UNDP also includes scenarios where the impacts of climate change has aggravate the root causes of violent extremism. We need to be aware of what could happen in the future, and focus not only on preparedness, but on prevention.

In the Sahel, we have seen growing linkages between terrorism, organised crime, and intercommunal violence. Terror groups exploit inter-ethnic tensions and the absence of the State in some areas to advance their agenda.


Looking at other trends, we see that conspiracy theories and extremist ideas continue to be easily shared online, We have seen how the Internet can accelerate radicalisation, and we know that extremists are also exploiting the COVID-19 Pandemic to expand these activities and networks.   We note with concern the continued mentioning of the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway in online forums. Sadly, it has also been a motivation for terrorist actors in other countries, including the attack in Christchurch.

Additionally, terrorist networks continue to depend on external financing to run their organisations. This financing must be cut off. We must disrupt the links between organised crime and terrorism. Norway supports the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to prevent the misuse of virtual assets for money laundering and terrorist financing.


By tackling these issues and others outline by colleagues today, we will continue to see progress on the global efforts against terrorism. In this, and in closing, Norway emphasise our firm view that in order to successfully combat terrorism in all its manifestations, we also need to take a preventive, integrated approach to counter-terrorism.