What's In Blue

Open Debate and Joint Briefing on Counter-Terrorism

Tomorrow (14 April), the Security Council will hold an open debate on efforts to strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination. The Secretary-General is expected to brief. At the same time, there will be a joint open briefing organised by the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee on countering the financing of terrorism.

A concept note circulated by China highlighted how this meeting, besides offering an opportunity for an exchange of views on fighting terrorism and strengthening international counter-terrorism coordination and cooperation, could provide momentum on this issue ahead of the June review of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy in the General Assembly.

Council members are expected to focus on cooperation in cutting off the financial sources of terrorism, particularly regarding the implementation of the Council-imposed asset freeze on Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaida affiliates, which targets oil and gas smuggling, cultural relics smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and external donations, among other assets. Council members might also refer to the 18 January 2016 global implementation survey of resolution 1373, conducted by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), that identified several gaps in efforts to disrupt funding sources and issued recommendations for member states to enhance their domestic action to counter money-laundering and the financing of terrorism (S/2016/49).

The note also encourages member states to discuss measures taken to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, including through criminalisation and international cooperation on border control, intelligence sharing and capacity-building. In addressing this matter, Council members might find useful the 29 December 2015 report submitted by CTED on the implementation of resolution 2178 that includes thematic and regional recommendations to address this phenomenon (S/2015/975).

The implementation of the Secretary-General’s plan of action to prevent violent extremism is expected to feature prominently in the discussions, along with member states’ domestic experiences in preventing and countering violent extremism, and the outcome of the 7-8 April Geneva conference on this issue. The concept note underlines that resolution 1624 called upon member states to prohibit by law the incitement to commit terrorist acts. In this context, some participants might want to refer to the 18 January 2016 global implementation survey of resolution 1624 conducted by CTED, which provides recommendations to member states to improve the implementation of this resolution.

The note also emphasises a clear priority of China in counter-terrorism: concern about the use of information and communication technologies to incite, recruit, fund and plan terrorist attacks. Even though language regarding this has previously been included in Council resolutions, some Council members have expressed concern that such language could be used to justify freedom of expression violations.

This open debate follows the Secretary-General’s first report on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security and the range of UN efforts in support of member states in countering the threat, requested by resolution 2253 of 17 December, which was released on 29 January 2016 (S/2016/92). Council members were briefed on this report on 9 February by Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

The joint open briefing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee will focus on the work of these committees in countering the financing of terrorism and depriving terrorist groups, particularly Al-Qaida, ISIL and their affiliates, of their sources of funding, and will feature the work of the Financial Action Task Force. It is expected to focus on current methods used by terrorists to raise and channel funds (including the misuse of new technologies and the exploitation of natural resources), to highlight the importance of private/public partnerships in the fight against terrorism financing, and to explore ways to enhance member states’ capacity to share information on terrorism financing.

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