December 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2010
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THEMATIC ISSUES

Counter-Terrorism

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected in December to renew the mandate of CTED, the Secretariat body which assists the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The CTC plans to submit a report to the Council in December on CTED’s work to date. (It was unclear at time of writing if the Council would separately consider the CTC report.)

Key Recent Developments
On 15 November the chairs of the three counterterrorism committees—the 1267 Committee, the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC, or the 1373 Committee) and the 1540 Committee—briefed the Council in what is now a regular twice-yearly joint briefing. The UK, which held the November Council presidency, encouraged the chairs to share their personal views with regard to the future of the committees. In addition, the briefing provided an opportunity for participants to present their views on the work of the CTC and the mandate renewal of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) as part of their overall feedback on the work of the three committees.

Turkish Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, chair of the CTC, stressed the valuable contributions and excellent work of CTED and its executive director and said CTED continues to provide needed assistance to the committee. He noted the importance of the implementation of resolution 1373 in combating terrorism and said that since capacity-building remains a significant challenge to implementation, CTC and CTED should continue focusing on the matter. As briefings and presentations by the CTC and CTED to member states have proved useful in promoting dialogue and interaction and garnering suggestions from the wider membership, he suggested these activities should continue and ways to increase interaction should be explored. Apakan also recommended that CTED should be encouraged to continue efforts, particularly in a regional approach, to work with states to address particular aspects of incitement to terrorism. Due to CTED’s expanding outreach activities, it should be allowed to hold and dispense extrabudgetary funds provided by donors for specific activities. He also emphasised that to be effective, all counterterrorism measures should respect the rule of law and human rights.

China welcomed the efforts of CTED, while Russia noted that CTED had increased the transparency of its work and supported a continuation of that practice. France said it viewed CTC’s effectiveness as dependent on CTED. The UK said CTED’s renewal should allow it to continue to adapt to the evolving threat of terrorism and in particular focus more on the drivers of radicalisation and on how states can better counter violent extremism.

The US said it strongly supports the mandate renewal and that CTED should intensify its regional and thematic approach while developing regional capacity, as well as devoting more attention to dialogue with countries on the issues addressed in resolution 1624. (That resolution called on states to prohibit the incitement of terrorism and to enhance dialogue among civilizations in order to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures. The CTC was directed to work with states to help build capacity and include dialogue about their efforts to implement the resolution.)

Nigeria noted the challenges facing West Africa in implementing resolution 1373 fully and the need for capacity building. It hoped that the joint efforts of CTED and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would yield results on this front in the coming year.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is whether CTED’s mandate should be altered to better contribute to the functioning of the CTC and therefore the fulfilment of its mandate.

A related issue is the Council remaining sensitive to differences of opinion in the wider UN membership with regard to CTED’s focus and work activities, in order to maintain broad support for the overall work of the CTC.

Options
Possible options include:

  • a simple extension of CTED with no new substantive elements;
  • extending CTED for a further three years with some modification to its mandated activities; or
  • extending CTED’s mandate for a more limited period.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Members seem to have responded favourably to the UK proposal for the chairs of the three counterterrorism committees to provide personal reflections on future activities during the joint briefing on 15 November. Some members feel that if continued over time this practice may foster more informal and creative discussions about the work of the committees.

As for CTED renewal, the feedback provided during the joint briefing confirmed that Council members are supportive of its continued work. On the other hand there were few specific recommendations for any modifications to the mandate.

It appears that the US, which has the lead for the CTED renewal, hopes to circulate a draft text by the beginning of December for adoption by mid-month. While the Council’s 27 September presidential statement on terrorism encouraged the CTC and CTED to continue their work with member states in close cooperation with the General’s Assembly’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, it is not clear that anything more directive will be included in the renewal at this time.

The preference of many members seems to be to renew CTED without substantially altering its existing mandate. Some members argue that modifications to CTED’s working procedures that were apparently suggested in its recent report (such as the ability to use extrabudgetary funds for specific projects or to temporarily base staff in regional settings, for example in the ECOWAS Secretariat) are only slight changes that could be addressed in CTED’s programme of work rather than being included in the resolution renewing its mandate. Others, however, seem more sceptical that these proposed activities are covered by the existing mandate and feel it might be better to address them explicitly as part of the mandate renewal.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1904 (17 December 2009) renewed the mandate of the 1267 Committee monitoring team for 18 months.
  • S/RES/1810 (25 April 2008) extended the mandate of the 1540 Committee and expert body until 25 April 2011.
  • S/RES/1805 (20 March 2008) extended the CTED mandate until 31 December 2010.
  • S/RES/1540 (28 April 2004) established the 1540 Committee and its mandate.
  • S/RES/1373 (28 September 2001) established the CTC and its mandate.
  • S/RES/1267 (15 October 1999) established the Al-Qaida and Taliban Committee and its mandate.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2010/19 (27 September 2010) was a presidential statement adopted following a thematic meeting on terrorism.

Selected Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6424 (15 November 2010) was the most recent briefing by the chairs of the 1267, 1540 and CTC Committees.

Other

  • S/2010/366 (12 July 2010) was a letter from the CTC to the Council transmitting the committee’s current work programme for July to December 2010.

Other Relevant Facts

Committee Chairs

  • Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan (Turkey): CTC
  • Ambassador Claude Heller (Mexico): 1540 Committee
  • Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting (Austria): 1267 Committee

Executive Director of CTED

Mike Smith (Australia)

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