Skip to content

Nordic Joint Statement on the occasion of the UN Security Council Ministerial Open Debate 20th Anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the Counter Terrorism Committee: achievements in international cooperation, challenges and opportunities

12.01.2021  18:18

set text

I have the pleasure to submit this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The Nordic countries wish to thank Tunisia for organising today’s open debate commemorating the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1373 and the establishment of the Counterterrorism Committee (CTC).


The evolving threat of terrorism and a changing terrorism landscape ranging from the ‘globalisation’ of the threat from Daesh to right wing and left wing violent extremism calls for even further multilateral collaboration on preventing and countering this increasingly complex threat. The Nordic countries remain fully committed to engaging constructively with all partners as we continue our joint efforts to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. Over the years, we have benefited greatly from both formal and informal interactions with the Counter Terrorism-Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and we extend our appreciation to Assistant Secretary General Coninsx and her team for our excellent cooperation. Increased efforts to enhance the transparency of the work of the CTC and other parts of the counterterrorism architecture will be important as we move ahead. In this vein, we refer to Finland’s decision to make their country report publicly available.


Mr. President,

We live in a time of multiple crises – exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This draws on already stretched financial resources and we therefore welcome further coordination within the UN family according to each entity’s mandate. In particular on capacity building and technical assistance efforts across CTED, the Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) and the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UNODC – as well with as the wider global counterterrorism architecture including the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh. In order to ensure the most effective impact of scarce resources, we caution against developing new initiatives instead of leveraging already existing platforms in- and outside the UN system.


As regards the GCTF, we welcome the ongoing efforts of the OCT leadership and the Global Counterterrorism Forum co-chairs, Canada and Morocco to strengthen even further their ties and coordination. We would like to highlight the important role of the GCTF in implementing UN level agreed principles and priorities via the International Institute for Justice & the Rule of Law, the Global Community Resilience & Engagement Fund (GCERF) and other GCTF-inspired initiatives - where we are fortunate to benefit from Tunisia’s very constructive engagement.


Mr. President,

We must work tirelessly to build the resilience of our local communities as the first line of defence against those who instigate hate and discord. But ‘community resilience’ must never become an excuse to turn a blind eye to bad governance, corruption, human rights violations and abuses, lack of inclusion, persecution of marginalised groups and other drivers of radicalisation leading to terrorism. As discussed in last week’s useful meeting on ‘Partnerships and Challenges in International Counter-Terrorism Efforts’, it is the responsibility of national authorities to develop the tools and allocate the necessary resources to prevent and counter violent extremism in close cooperation with civil society, local communities and other relevant actors. In this regard, we value greatly our partnerships with the GCERF and the Strong Cities / Young Cities Network. Across the globe, both initiatives support local efforts and civil society, including human rights defenders and women and youth-led organisations, to address the drivers of violent extremism and prevent radicalization leading to terrorism as well as to strengthen the social contract between national governments and communities. In the long run, we firmly believe this is the most effective way of preventing the threat from global terrorism. The ongoing support from the Government of Kenya to both initiatives has been critical for their success and we encourage Kenya to use its visionary continental leadership to promote a multifaceted, locally anchored approach to CVE at the global level during its important tenure of the Security Council.  


Mr. President,

We must also expand, encourage and develop initiatives to deal more effectively with the nexus between terrorism and organised crime. These global security challenges are closely connected and must be addressed both within the security pillar, and as part of advancing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.


Many of the areas where violent extremist groups are most active also suffer from high exposure to climate risks. A recent policy brief by the UNDP includes examples where impacts of climate change can aggravate the root causes of violent extremism, contribute to push and pull factors for recruitment, and alter the broader strategic environment in ways that strengthen violent extremist groups. Climate change multiplies existing risks in some of the most volatile regions of the world when it comes to terrorism and violent extremism, and we need to better understand all the complex drivers behind in order to identify areas and opportunities for cooperation on preventive measures.


While preventing people from radicalising in the first place is the most sustainable, long-term solution, it is equally important to ensure that our relevant national agencies are fit for purpose and ahead of the curve when it comes to countering individuals or groups who are plotting to commit attacks. A gender-responsive approach to countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism is necessary in order to achieve sustainable results, as is the continued promotion of women’s active and meaningful participation in prevention and counter-terrorism efforts.


Let us also use this opportunity to emphasize the need to ensure that counter-terrorism initiatives do not negatively impact or restrict humanitarian activities and assistance upon which millions of people worldwide are dependent. Humanitarian actors must always be allowed to carry out their impartial work without impediment.


Mr. President,

We should constantly remind ourselves of the essential principles we have all signed up to; that all measures taken to combat terrorism must respect human rights and that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals, but mutually reinforcing. These principles should guide any type of counter-terrorism intervention and must be front and centre as we embark on the coming review of UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Not because they look good on paper but because a human rights based approach ensures good governance, builds trust with communities and reduces the risk of driving vulnerable individuals or groups further into the arms of radicalizers and facilitators. In other words, a human rights and rule of law compliant response coupled with a strong focus on early prevention, and with civil society, women and youth as equal partners, is in the interest of our national security.


Thank you.