Joint Briefing by the Chairs of the Counter-Terrorism-Related Committees
Tomorrow (4 May), the Security Council will receive a briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees. The briefers will be Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen (New Zealand), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh)/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. An attempt to have the Monitoring Team of the ISIL/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee brief the Council was opposed by one permanent member.
1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh)/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
Van Bohemen is expected to brief Council members on the information provided by the Committee’s Monitoring Team regarding the expansion the geographical scope of the actions of the ISIL, including increasing influence in places such as Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen. The Secretary-General’s 29 January report highlighted the evolution of the terrorist threat in the last 18 months, including ISIL’s growing sphere of influence, the increasing complexity of recent attacks (in terms of planning, coordination and sophistication), and the steady stream of foreign terrorist fighters joining ISIL and its affiliates. Van Bohemen is also expected to provide an assessment of the impact of sanctions measures on ISIL and Al-Qaida’s revenue sources, including how the pressure on some of the existing revenue sources (such as oil and other assets) may increase other revenue streams such as taxation or kidnapping for ransom. Despite the Council’s focus on the financing of ISIL, the 29 January report underlined ISIL’s rapid and effective mobilisation of financial resources in the service of recruitment and territorial expansion, characterising ISIL as “the world’s wealthiest terrorist organisation”.
The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters is also likely to be raised in the meeting. Council members might reflect on the trend of continous recruitment (even though at a slower pace) with around 30,000 fighters originating from over 100 member states now estimated to have been recruited, and the potential implications of the increasing flow of returnees. Van Bohemen might also elaborate on some of the ways in which foreign terrorist fighters avoid scrutiny, such as the use of indirect travel routes to reach their destinations.
1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee
Aboulatta is expected to cover the CTC’s work programme for 2016, which includes holding two special meetings on countering the financing of terrorism and another one on preventing terrorists from exploiting the internet and social media. The role of resolution 1373 in obliging states to criminalise the financing of terrorism is expected to feature prominently in the discussions. On 18 January, the CTC Executive Directorate (CTED) issued a global implementation survey of resolution 1373 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. Also on 18 January, CTED released a global implementation survey of resolution 1624 (which called upon member states to prohibit by law the incitement to commit terrorist acts), providing recommendations to member states to improve the implementation of this resolution.
As part of the ongoing work of the Committee to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, Aboulatta might highlight some of the recommendations included in the three reports prepared by CTED in 2015 on the implementation of resolution 2178, including thematic and regional recommendations to address this phenomenon. The recommendations covered issues such as criminalisation and international cooperation on border control, intelligence sharing and capacity-building.
Oyarzun is expected to focus his briefing on the comprehensive review of resolution 1540, which is due to be completed by 30 November in accordance with resolution 1977, with a further resolution as a likely outcome during Spain’s presidency in December. In particular, Oyarzun is likely to highlight the review as an opportunity to strengthen the 1540 regime as one of the key preventive tools available to address the growing terrorist threat. He may discuss some of the main areas identified for the review to address, and outline next steps.
In terms of recent activities, Oyarzun, who last briefed the Council on 22 December 2015, may refer to a civil society forum with representatives from academia held by the Committee on 11 and 12 April. It addressed ways to enhance engagement with the academic sector regarding more effective implementation of the resolution; how implementation might be better evaluated and promoted by the Committee; and the scientific and technological developments that the Committee should be most concerned about. Oyarzun may also mention a Committee seminar held on 29 February focusing on the changing nature of proliferation threats, such as intangible technology transfers, proliferation financing and robotics, which are seen as relevant to the comprehensive review.
Other developments Oyarzun may cover in his briefing include recent consultations on the comprehensive review conducted by the Committee on 29 March with relevant international agencies and organisations, inviting them to make proposals on how to strengthen cooperation. Among the participants were the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, the IAEA, INTERPOL, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Customs Organization (WCO).
In terms of next steps, Oyarzun may draw attention to the upcoming formal consultations on the comprehensive review for member states, relevant international and regional organisations and civil society scheduled from 20 to 22 June. He could take advantage of the briefing tomorrow to provide more information on the objective of these consultations and the types of questions that participants are expected to address.
Finally, Oyarzun may provide an update on some of the Committee’s ongoing work related to its other main priorities, such as promoting universal reporting by member states; monitoring and supporting implementation, including outreach activities by the Group of Experts; and serving as a matchmaker between states seeking capacity-building related assistance and those offering to pay for such assistance.
Looking ahead, the 1540 Committee is scheduled to hold a meeting in Madrid on 10 and 11 May that will focus on the comprehensive review with a view to identifying key elements that should be included. Additionally, the Committee’s working group on monitoring and implementation is due to meet this Friday to continue its analysis of member states’ matrices in the context of the comprehensive review.