What's In Blue

Briefing from the Chairs of the Counter-Terrorism-Related Committees

Tomorrow morning (15 November), the Security Council will convene for the annual open briefing on the work of its counter-terrorism-related committees. The expected briefers are Ambassador Vanessa Frazier (Malta), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), chair of the of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ambassador Andrés Montalvo Sosa (Ecuador), chair of the 1540 Committee. Nusseibeh will deliver a joint briefing on behalf of the three chairs, which will be followed by a briefing from each chair on the work of their respective committees.

Joint Briefing

The joint briefing is expected to focus on the continuing cooperation between the three committees. In this regard, Nusseibeh may highlight instances where the 1267/1988 Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (Monitoring Team) has participated in CTC on-site assessment visits and refer to consultations and information exchanges among the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the 1540 Group of Experts, and the Monitoring Team. Nusseibeh might note that CTED and the Monitoring Team have continued to cooperate closely following the adoption of the Delhi Declaration and in preparing reports of the Secretary-General on terrorism, such as the biannual report on the threat posed by ISIL/Da’esh. (The “Delhi Declaration on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes” was adopted during a special session of the CTC that was held in India in October 2022.) She is also likely to discuss cooperation among the three committees within the working groups of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, a coordination framework aimed at strengthening a common UN approach to support member states in the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other relevant UN resolutions and mandates. Nusseibeh may also mention cooperation among the committees with regard to awareness raising efforts that focus on the growing risk of non-state actors acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction.

1267/1989/2253 ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee

In updating members on the work of the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, Frazier is expected to describe the activities undertaken by the committee in light of the evolving threat posed by ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and their affiliates. She might note that the committee updated the guidelines for the conduct of its work on 10 March.

Frazier is also likely to highlight the threat posed by ISIL and Al-Qaeda as reported by the Monitoring Team. According to the Monitoring Team’s latest report, which was issued on 25 July, the threat of terrorism “remains high in conflict zones and relatively low elsewhere”.

She may also mention specific areas where the threat is particularly worrying, such as Africa and Afghanistan. The Secretary-General’s 31 July biannual strategic-level report on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security, to which the Monitoring Team contributed, describes several examples of operations carried out by ISIL and its affiliates on the African continent, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique, and the Sahel region. It also says that member states have expressed concern that terrorist groups could exploit the current instability in Sudan and notes that ISIL’s affiliate in the Sahel, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), has become increasingly autonomous and has played a significant role in the escalation of violence in the region. Regarding Afghanistan, the report says that ISIL’s Afghan affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K), has been assessed by member states as the most serious terrorist threat in the country and the region.

Frazier might discuss ISIL’s recent leadership losses in her briefing. According to the Secretary-General’s report, some member states took the view that lower levels of ISIL violence during this year’s holy month of Ramadan, an occasion which has often triggered a surge in attacks by the terrorist group, could possibly be ascribed to attrition among its leadership.

1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee

Nusseibeh is likely to highlight the overall terrorist threat landscape during her briefing on the work of the CTC. She may focus on three specific areas of the CTC’s work: assessment of member states’ efforts to implement the Council’s counter-terrorism resolutions, facilitation of technical assistance to member states and CTED’s role in this regard, and promotion of member states’ implementation efforts. Nusseibeh might also refer to the ongoing negotiations regarding the development of the non-binding principles referred to in the Delhi Declaration. (Among other matters, the Delhi Declaration expressed an intention to develop, with CTED’s support, a set of non-binding guiding principles to assist member states to counter the threat posed by the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.) It appears that committee members have agreed to divide the non-binding principles into three documents covering different topics: uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), new means of financing terrorism, and information and communication technologies (ICTs). At the time of writing, it seems that negotiations concerning the non-binding principles relating to UAVs were nearing completion. Negotiations regarding the non-binding principles on new means of financing are expected to begin once the UAV principles have been agreed, and discussion of the ICT principles are anticipated to start after the principles on new means of financing have been finalised.

1540 Committee

Montalvo is expected to highlight the important role that resolution 1540 plays in the global non-proliferation architecture. (Adopted in 2004, resolution 1540 aims to prevent non-state actors from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction and encourages enhanced cooperation in this regard.) He may also emphasise the importance of voluntary national implementation action plans and provide an update on the 1540 Committee’s efforts to gather information on member states’ implementation of resolution 1540. During last year’s annual briefing from the chairs of the counter-terrorism-related committees, the previous 1540 chair, Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico), said that 185 member states had submitted their first report on the implementation of resolution 1540 to the committee. Montalvo may also note that the 1540 Committee’s mandate was renewed for ten years in November 2022 by resolution 2663 and refer to the outreach events in which the committee has participated.

In their statements, some members may refer to the impasse regarding the appointment of experts to the 1540 Group of Experts. At the time of writing, only three experts are assisting the 1540 Committee. Under resolution 2055, which was adopted on 29 June 2012, up to nine experts can be appointed to the Group. The experts and the coordinator of the Group are appointed by the Secretary-General following the approval of their recruitment by the 1540 Committee.

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