Counter-Terrorism: Briefings to the Council
Expected Council Action
Twice a year the chairs of the Security Council’s three counter-terrorism committees brief the Council. The next briefing is due in November when the chairs of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC, established under resolution 1373), the Weapons of Mass Destruction Committee (WMD, resolution 1540) and the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee (resolution 1267) will address the Council. No formal outcome is expected.
The joint briefings started in April 2005. So far, there have been six joint briefings, including three last year, which have been held in formal public meetings. The November briefing may be followed by an open debate. Non-Council members who wish to participate will need to register their requests in writing.
Several developments related to counter-terrorism may be foreshadowed in the briefing:
the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) expires on 31 December, and a comprehensive review is supposed to be undertaken prior to the renewal of this mandate;
the mandates of the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts expire on 27 April 2008; and
the mandate of the 1267 Committee’s Monitoring Team expires on 30 June 2008.
Semi-Annual Briefings by the Counter-Terrorism Committees Chairs
The joint briefing by the three committees focusing on counter-terrorism is intended to bring closer collaboration and cooperation among them. The committee chairs use the semi-annual meeting to inform the Council, and the wider UN community, of progress made implementing the relevant counter-terrorism resolutions of the Council, in particular the committees’ work over the preceding six months and their work plan for the next period. In the past, the briefing has provided an opportunity for non-Council members to comment on the work of the committees, their support mechanisms and the Council’s role in UN counter-terrorism efforts.
In the last joint briefing to the Council in May, each chair reported on the committees’ work, their support mechanisms and the work contemplated for the ensuing months. They reported on how they and their experts had engaged with member states on implementing provisions of the relevant resolutions. They also discussed how the committees had paid special attention to developing best practices and guidance for member states, and how the committees had conducted outreach through seminars and worked to improve cooperation with relevant regional and international organisations. In the case of the CTED and the Monitoring Team, the chairs reported on country visits conducted and contemplated. Also, the CTC chair reported during the last briefing on progress made by the CTED preparing the Preliminary Implementation Assessments of member states and the work of the CTC’s subcommittees in approving them. These Assessments provide the CTC with an indication of each state’s implementation of the provisions of resolution 1373. They also assess the capacity-building assistance needed by those states lacking the required counter-terrorism capacity.
The November briefings seem likely to follow the same pattern, providing the Council with an update of the progress made on the programme of work of each committee and their support mechanisms.
The CTC chair is expected to report on the provisions of resolution 1624, which requires all states to criminalise and prevent incitement to terrorism. The chair is also likely to highlight the outcome of the fifth special meeting of the CTC with sub-regional, regional and international organisations. The focus of this meeting, scheduled for 29-31 October in Nairobi, is the “Prevention of Terrorist Movement and Effective Border Security.”
The chair of the 1267 Committee is likely to report on the progress made since the last briefing, particularly in its review of the list of targeted individuals and entities. The chair will also likely discuss the outreach of the Monitoring Team with states through country visits, cooperation with relevant international organisations and initiatives to engage the private sector. (In December the Committee, in keeping with past practice, is also likely to report on how states have implemented sanctions measures and what areas may require further Council action.)
The chair of the 1540 Committee is expected to report on the work of the Committee and its experts in the preceding months and discuss the goals set for the Committee before its mandate expires. The Committee and its experts have continued outreach activities to advise states of their obligations to implement provisions of the resolution and have provided guidance. Its experts have also established working relationships with relevant international organisations and are expected to continue to build on those efforts.
Developments in the General Assembly
The General Assembly adopted its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in September 2006. This emphasised the importance of cooperation on counter-terrorism issues within the UN system. It also pointed to specific actions that the CTC and the CTED could take within their respective mandates, along with areas for greater synergy on counter-terrorism among UN bodies in general.
To promote the Global Strategy, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, comprising some 24 UN bodies and agencies, was established within the Secretariat. A representative of each of the monitoring mechanisms of the Council’s three counter-terrorism committees participates in the meetings of the Task Force and provides expertise to its activities.
The relative balance between the General Assembly and the Security Council on the issues remains controversial, however, with many non-Council members expressing concern that the current structures unduly favour the Council.
There have been suggestions that a comprehensive review and restructuring of all Council counter-terrorism efforts would be desirable, given that the mandates of all three are set to expire by mid-2008. However, none of the permanent Council members appear ready at this time to take the lead in moving forward with such an initiative.
It remains to be seen whether the expiry of the CTED’s mandate at the end of the year will prompt a fundamental review. While some Council members are dissatisfied with the status quo, its mandate is expected to be extended.
It also remains to be seen whether there will be an open debate in November and if so, the extent of participation among UN member states and the impact this debate may have on the Council in December when it comes to consider the CTED review.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statements|
|Other Selected Documents|
Ambassador Ricardo Arias (Panama): CTC (1373)
Ambassador Peter Burian (Slovakia): 1540 Committee (WMD)
Ambassador Johan Verbeke (Belgium): 1267 Committee (Al-Qaida and Taliban)