UN global counter-terrorism strategy review an ‘overarching vision for the future’: Assembly President

UNHCR/Ivor Prickett
Civilians in Mosul, Iraq, following a suicide car bombing.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to address the challenges posed by terrorism worldwide, international cooperation is key to counter the scourge, the President of the United Nations General Assembly said on Tuesday, as the body adopted a review of the UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

We will be stronger if we work together … this Strategy gives us an opportunity to do so,” said Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák.

“It sets our common goals; allows us to prioritise; and gives us an overarching vision, for the future.”

In his remarks, Mr. Lajčák also said that UN’s role regarding counter-terrorism is a “tricky one.”

Noting that international terror groups did not exist when the Organization was established more than 70 years ago, events in recent past – in particular the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City – underscored the scale of the threat.

“Since then, we have been working to find the right balance, for the role of the UN, and we need to keep working on this,” he said, noting also that many of the world body’s members are reaching out to the Organization for support.

At the same time, the UN system has also evolved to better respond to the changing dynamics, he added, highlighting the Secretary-General’s reform initiative and the establishing of a UN Counter-Terrorism Office.

‘We cannot afford to become complacent’

Further in his speech, the Assembly President also warned against complacency, particularly as terrorist groups continue to employ newer and more destructive methods, with no regard for the “laws of humanity.”

By working together, he added, the international community can create opportunities to address such evolving threats: “There will be new dynamics; new technology and new threats. But also, new opportunities for solutions,” said Mr. Lajčák.

“We need to work with each other … we need to pool our capacities and experiences, and, we need to deliver a strong message: that we do not – and will not – accept international terrorism.”

The resolution – adopted by consensus by the 193-member General Assembly – underlines the importance of multilateral efforts in combating terrorism and refraining from any practices and measures inconsistent with international law and the principles of the Charter.

It also calls on the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly, no later than May 2019, a report containing concrete recommendations and options on ways to assess the impact of, and progress made, implementing the UN’s counter-terrorism strategy.

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