September 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2011
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THEMATIC ISSUES

Counter-Terrorism

Expected Council Action
The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) is expected to hold a day-long event marking the tenth anniversary of resolution 1373. At time of writing, it appears the event will take place on the exact anniversary, 28 September, the Committee was created. It is possible that the Council may agree on a statement of some kind to mark the occasion.

Background
Resolution 1373 was adopted in 2001 in response to the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US. The resolution was the first comprehensive resolution imposing obligations on all states to respond to the global threat of terrorism. It requires all states to criminalise terrorist acts, penalise acts of support for or in preparation of terrorist offences, criminalise the financing of terrorism, freeze funds of persons who commit or attempt to commit terrorist acts and strengthen international cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism.

Resolution 1373 also established the CTC to monitor implementation of the resolution. The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED, established in 2004) provides the CTC with expert advice and facilitates the provision of technical assistance to states to aid them in the task of implementing resolution 1373. CTED also has the goal of promoting closer counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination within the UN, as well as among regional and other intergovernmental bodies.

Initially the resolution received a great deal of criticism, much of it centred on the fact that the Council was in effect legislating to states what their approach to countering terrorism should entail and addressing issues normally regulated by treaties that each state has an option to ratify. In the years since, however, some of this criticism has waned, in part due to the CTC and CTED actively engaging in outreach to states and working to build the perception that both are primarily assisting states in fulfilling their obligations rather than monitoring them for compliance. (Another subsidiary body of the Council that deals with counter-terrorism, the 1540 Committee dealing with non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, has undertaken similar efforts in order to increase its acceptance by member states.)

Key Recent Developments   
On 20 December 2010, the Council adopted resolution 1963 extending the mandate of CTED until 31 December 2013. In addition, the resolution highlighted the importance of the CTC’s work programme and looked forward to a special meeting open to the wider membership to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1373.

When the committee submitted its 2011 programme of work to the Council on 25 March, it therefore included holding such a meeting as one of its activities to promote implementation of resolution 1373. The CTC’s intention is to “organize a special meeting open to the wide [sic] membership and other relevant stakeholders” to commemorate the occasion.

On 16 May, the chairs of the 1267 Committee (al-Qaida sanctions), the CTC and the 1540 committee addressed the Council in a regular biannual briefing. The chair of the CTC, Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, noted that the anniversary marks an important milestone in global counter-terrorism efforts. Speaking of this and other outreach activities, he said that high priority was attached to enhancing transparency and public outreach, as well as the strengthening of cooperation with international, regional and subregional organisations.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Committee is ensuring that the anniversary event serves to maintain and broaden support among member states for the overall work of the CTC. A related issue is the extent to which the Committee will be able to include the perspectives of NGOs, in addition to that of regional organisations, so as to provide as much transparency as feasible while seeking to have as constructive a conversation as possible.

Options
Possible options for the Council include:

  • issuing a presidential statement in order to acknowledge the contribution the CTC has made to counter-terrorism efforts so far; or
  • issuing a presidential or press statement that takes into account the input of member states and civil society organisations on the day of the event, while looking ahead to define future priorities for the Committee.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Members are agreed on the need for the CTC and CTED and are generally satisfied with their current activities, as demonstrated by the strong support for renewing the CTED mandate last December. Likewise, there seems to be wide support for the tenth anniversary event planned for 28 September and for the vision of India, as CTC chair, that the event should have a dual focus of considering the past experience of the Committee while looking forward to the future activities and needs of the CTC and CTED.

However, there seems to be some continuing disagreement among committee members as to the best way to involve NGOs in the anniversary event. Apparently some P5 members view the event as focused primarily on member states and have raised concerns about how to include civil society organisations. (At time of writing the CTC was still working to finalise the list of invitees to the event.) Some Council members remain, in general, reluctant to interact more extensively with the NGO community. This may affect the type of feedback that the Committee receives about the CTC’s work on its tenth anniversary.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1963 (20 December 2010) extended the mandate of CTED until 31 December 2013.
  • S/RES/1373 (28 September 2001) established the CTC and its mandate.

Latest Meeting Record

Other

  • S/2011/223 (25 March 2011) was a letter from the CTC to the Council transmitting the committee’s work programme for 2011.

Other Relevant Facts

CTC Chair

Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri (India)

Executive Director of CTED

Mike Smith (Australia)

Full forecast

 

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