UNSC briefing on threats to international peace & security caused by terrorist acts
At the outset, I would like to thank the delegation of China for organizing this briefing on threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts. We welcome the SecretaryGeneral’s report on the subject and thank USG Vladimir Voronkov and Acting Executive Director Weixiong Chen for the depth and clarity of their briefings. The report we have received and information available to us confirm a surge in the incidence of terrorism by 17 % in 2021, particularly in Africa, in Central and South Asia, and the Levant. We are also concerned about the evolution of the Sahel as the epicentre of terrorism, and the shift of focus of foreign terrorist groups such as the Islamic State towards the region. This has been accompanied by the creation of affiliations with local terrorist groups, that now threaten even coastal West Africa. As highlighted by the Secretary General’s Report and re-echoed by the 2022 Global Terrorism Index, terrorism remains a serious threat, with sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for 48% of total global deaths from the menace. Disturbingly, four of the nine countries with the largest, incidence of deaths from terrorism were also in sub-Saharan Africa, namely: Niger, Mali, the DRC, and Burkina Faso.
We recall the Security Council’s landmark Resolution 137 (2001) on counterterrorism, which signalled the commitment to a global approach to address the menace of terrorism. While some progress has been made since the establishment of the CounterTerrorism Committee, through the legal, operational, and institutional responses developed to counter the threat of terrorism, considerable gaps remain to be covered. This remains the case, especially in response to terrorism in new situations, such as in Africa. As terrorists’ groups have lost ground in other parts of the world, they have made common cause with local groups in Africa, taking advantage of insecurities caused by climate change, including displacement of whole communities, religious tensions, weak development resilience, the spillover of militants and arms from conflicts and the absence of State presence in large areas of regions to radicalize and recruit vulnerable individuals. As their territorial gains have expanded, so have their ambitions. As their networks have become become more agile, globally connected, with adapted leadership and disparate operational structures, it has become more and more difficult to counter these terrorist organizations. The attendant impact on national economies and governance, and the humanitarian impact on local populations, should be of great concern to the world.
Taking into account the dynamics of the threat posed to international peace and security by terrorism, we would make the following four (4) points.
Firstly, there is an urgent need for a reconceptualization of how the Council perceives the threat posed by terrorism to international peace and security. While in the past coordinated law enforcement action had proved adequate in countering terrorist organisations, today the scope and operations of terrorist groups require global actions that are intelligence led, and kinetic, balanced by a focus on sustainable peace. Law enforcement operations alone are no longer effective. The case for complimentary military capabilities against terrorist groups is clear when one looks at conflict settings where national capacity for counterterrorism proved ineffectual, such as in Somalia, Northern Mozambique, the Sahel, North-East Nigeria, and in Eastern DRC.
The effects of terrorism are not national but global, and its planning, financing and organisation transcend national borders. It is therefore important that taking into account the Global CounterTerrorism Strategy, the Council finds better ways of interlocking its decisions with regional efforts at countering terrorism in the field. One consideration would be for the Council to act in a unified manner whenever we deal with terrorist organisations and to act against all terrorist groups, without discrimination. There are no good and bad terrorists – rather all terrorists are bad – and we must condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Secondly, considering the ascendancy of terrorist threats in regions where conflicts are on the rise, and the global networks they operate, it is necessary for the Council to extend support for intraregional and cross-regional intelligence-sharing efforts to counter cross-border collaboration by terrorist groups. We urge the Council to therefore transition support for home-grown counter-terrorism mechanisms, such as the African Union’s normative frameworks for preventing and combatting terrorism as well as ECOWAS counter-terrorism strategy, the Accra Initiative, and ongoing efforts to deploy regional counter-insurgency forces against terrorist and extremist groups. We are well aware of the stretched capacity of peacekeeping and must embrace the effective complementarity that regional forces can offer in addressing the threats caused by terrorist acts. Such support should also be anchored on technical assistance
for enhancing the national capacities of developing countries, including in the area of emerging technologies. In this regard, we encourage the continuing cooperation and capacity-building
support of the CTED, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) as well as regional groups and friendly countries for Member States that have a need to strengthen their security and
Thirdly, while we notice an interplay between terrorist financing and transnational organised crimes, we also note the continuing financing of terrorist groups by foreign elements. In this context, we reiterate the call of the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union held in Malabo, for “all external actors to cease their support to terrorist groups in the Continent”. In strengthening the fight against local and external financing of terrorism, we urge genuine partnerships with regional institutions, such as the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), which have been established to help the fight against money laundering in the region and break the links between the means and the capability for terrorist acts. Sustaining and enhancing such regional initiatives is also critical to help curtail the increasing use of crypto currency as a medium of choice for financing terrorist activities. We also welcome the call for greater attention to be paid to the growing link between terrorists on land and pirates at sea, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, as we work collaboratively to dry out their sources of funding and check any expansion of their operations. In this regard, in line with Resolution 2634 on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, we look forward to the report of the SecretaryGeneral in October 2022 and hope that the report, when released, would help identify ways by which the threat can be addressed.
Fourthly, there is the need to promote a multidimensional and proactive approach to preventing and combatting terrorism, including by empowering the youth, reinforcing peace education, and by dedicating greater attention and investment into addressing the root causes of terrorism, especially the governance and development deficits, as well as the improvement of the socioeconomic conditions of the people. As the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing aggression against Ukraine has degraded the fiscal capacity of many developing countries to address the growing demands of their populations, it is important that global support be enhanced to undercut the ideologies of violent extremist groups who exploit longstanding vulnerabilities. With several developing countries facing worsening security vulnerabilities, we urge appropriate global responses such as debt cancellation and the restructuring of debt repayment, to enable them build back better and adequately tackle the security challenges in their countries.
In conclusion, Mr. President, it is important to underscore that terrorism constitutes an attack not only on innocent lives. It represents a full onslaught on our shared values, our sense of justice, and the inherent rights and dignity of every person. Terrorism, in essence, is an affront to humanity, and no country is immune. I therefore re-iterate Ghana’s commitment to the objective of enhancing all available tools for counter-terrorism at the multilateral and regional levels and welcome efforts to effectively harness a robust response in a manner that helps to counter this menace.
I thank you.