June 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 May 2006
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"Uniting Against Terrorism" – More Tasks for the Council?

The Secretary-General’s report Uniting against Terrorism: Recommendations for Global Counterterrorism Strategy of 27 April 2006 (A/60/825), is another in a series of subject-specific responses to the 2005 World Summit Outcome.  The Summit Outcome Document asked the Secretary-General to submit proposals to strengthen the capacity of the UN system to assist states in combating terrorism.  In this report, he is also acting on a recommendation by the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change that the Secretary-General take a leading role in promoting a comprehensive global strategy against terrorism and strengthen the ability of states to counter terrorism and promote the rule of law.   Further, in December 2005, the president of the General Assembly asked the Secretary-General “for a report on capacity-building as well as for additional inputs of relevance for the forthcoming work of the General Assembly on a counterterrorism strategy.”

The Secretary-General was assisted in preparation of the report by the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force, which he created in 2005.

The report highlighted the role of UN bodies in combating terrorism in the context of key principles which set out the elements of a counterterrorism strategy, earlier expounded by the Secretary-General in Madrid in March 2005. The five pillars are:

  • dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it;
  • denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack;
  • deterring states from supporting terrorism;
  • developing state capacity to defeat terrorism; and
  • defending human rights.

The Secretary-General made a number of observations and recommendations:

  • the General Assembly should take action to support the strategy in fulfilment of the Summit Outcome;
  • member states should adopt counterterrorism measures already required by existing international legal instruments and create new instruments to fill existing gaps in counterterrorism regimes;
  • agencies and bodies of the UN system should assist states in counterterrorism capacity-building; and
  • the Security Council should strengthen its antiterrorism and related regimes and assist states to fully implement them.

Implications for the Security Council
Several of the Secretary-General’s recommendations are specific to the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies.

  • The Council should closely monitor the implementation of its resolutions and ensure that all states act in accordance with international law in order to find, deny safe haven to, and bring to justice all those connected to terrorist acts.
  • Through its 1267 Committee, the Council must do more to ensure that the sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities target the right people and are fully enforced.
  • The Council should strengthen the effectiveness of the travel ban under the sanctions regime against Al-Qaida and the Taliban.
  • The 1267 Committee should continue discussions of listing and delisting, including the issue of due process and the recommendations offered by the Monitoring Team.
  • The Council should improve the accountability and transparency of sanctions regimes, ensure that the regimes of the 1267 Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) are mutually reinforcing, and consider a more rigorous and expeditious use of arms embargoes.
  • Through the CTC, the Council should continue to assist governments to build capacity in implementing resolution 1624, including by coordinating the identification of best practices and assessing priorities based on individual needs.
  • The CTC should continue to work with states on their adoption of legislative and administrative measures to deny terrorists access to travel.
  • Council bodies dealing with terrorism should develop standards of accountability and compliance against which efforts of individual states can be measured.
  • The various UN and Council bodies should strive for shared assessment visits to help reduce the burden on states.
  • The Council should undertake an assessment of the reporting requirements of the three counterterrorism committees in order to coordinate reporting requirements thereby reducing the reporting burden on states, streamlining reporting and avoiding duplication and overlap.
  • The Council should maintain and strengthen its actions against states found to be harbouring and assisting terrorists.
  • The Council should act promptly to take the necessary decisions, including under Chapter VII of the Charter, against those states or their nationals that incite or help to commit terrorist acts.
  • Through the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), the Council should  undertake certain tasks, including:
    * coordinate with relevant organizations within the UN system to respond to the assessments that result from the country visits by matching available human and financial resources to the technical assistance needs;
    * utilise its newly developed assessment tool in a systematic and transparent manner to establish priority areas within countries;
    * work closely with all technical assistance providers and share information that might be helpful for them in their assistance programmes; and
    * explore ways to facilitate the dissemination of best practices.
  • The Council and the General Assembly may wish to consider adopting a resolution calling on all states to provide necessary cooperation and assistance in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
  • UN member states should examine the possibility of asking the Council to promote facilitation of technical assistance to counter terrorist development, acquisition and use of WMDs, through the CTED and the Group of Experts who assist the 1540 Committee.

While most of these recommendations are not new, by raising them in this report, the Secretary-General draws attention to gaps in the global antiterrorism efforts, the lack of coordination and also responds to a number of concerns of many states.

Council Options
The report points towards various options for dealing with the organisational fragmentation in the activities being undertaken by the UN as a whole.  It highlighted the fact that the CTC should be at the core of UN efforts.  In this regard, the Secretary-General infers that an option is to develop the central role intended for the CTED, which was to enhance the CTC’s capacity to identify and prioritise the technical assistance needs of states.   He called for greater synergies between all relevant agencies and bodies within the UN system in this effort.

While the Council has been examining a number of the issues raised by the Secretary-General, the pace at which this is done has proved very slow. An option is for the Council to fast-track a review process, as it has done with a special mechanism on the mandates review.  Some of these issues fall within the mandates of subsidiary bodies of the Council, such as the CTC, the Working Group on General Issues Related to Sanctions, and the Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566.

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UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1624 (14 September 2005) called upon states to prohibit incitement to commit terrorist acts and to deny safe haven to terrorists, and called upon the CTC assist states to implement the resolution.
  • S/RES/1566 (8 October 2004) called upon states to fully cooperate in the fight against terrorism and established the 1566 Working Group.
Selected General Assembly Documents
  • A/60/825 (27 April 2006) was the Secretary-General’s report Uniting against Terrorism: Recommendations for Global Counterterrorism Strategy.
  • A/RES/60/1 (24 October 2005) 2005 World Summit Outcome Document
  • A/59/565 (2 December 2004) was a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

Previous Reports on UN Security Council Subsidiary Bodies
1267 Committee (Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions) (12 April 2006 Update Report)
Terrorism and WMDs Committee (April 2006 Forecast)
Counter-Terrorism Committee (April 2006 Forecast)
Sanctions Committees (March 2006 Forecast)
Security Council Subsidiary Bodies (6 January 2006 Update Report)
Council Working Group on Sanctions (January 2006 Forecast)
Counter-Terrorism Committee Issues (December 2005 Forecast)
Update on Council Subsidiary Bodies (November 2005 Forecast)

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