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I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark. We are grateful to the Indonesian presidency for placing this very pertinent topic on the Council’s agenda. Your excellent timing allows us to build on the discussions of last month’s UN Counter-Terrorism Week and the Secretary General’s recent report on this issue.


Mr. President,


While it is still too early to fully understand and assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global terrorism landscape, the pandemic leaves the world more vulnerable to terrorism with the possibility that already existing negative dynamics are coming into play earlier than expected and with more severe consequences. Furthermore, terrorist groups have set up local and regional systems to generate and move funds through illicit and organized criminal activity. This makes it all the more important to ensure our national, regional and global counter-terrorist financing architecture is fit for purpose.


Terrorist networks depend on external financing to run their organizations. This financing must be cut off. We must disrupt the links between organised crime and terrorism in order to identify and stop illicit financial flows to terrorist organisations and criminal networks. We encourage expansion of existing as well as developing new initiatives to deal more effectively with the nexus between terrorism and organised crime.


Mr. President,


The Nordic countries fully support the important message delivered by the Secretary General in his opening remarks during last month’s UN CT Week: Counter-terrorism laws and security measures cannot be an excuse to shrink civic and humanitarian space, curtail freedom of association and deny other human rights.


We are currently faced with multiple international crises requiring humanitarian, development or security-led responses, and the Covid-19 global pandemic and its derived effects has only increased competition for Member States’ scarce resources. We fully agree with the Secretary General’s point during last month’s UN CT Week that we must harness the power of multilateralism to find practical solutions. Terrorism does not respect national borders. It affects us all and can only be defeated collectively. Hence, the demand for a coordinated approach ensuring effective and demand-driven responses that create tangible, gender-sensitive and sustainable outcomes on the ground in Member States has never been more outspoken.


The United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nations offices in Vienna must work effectively together, including by making the best possible use of their field presence– and by finding the right balance between headquarter and field presence. We call on the UNODC and UNOCT to develop strategies to this end drawing on the specific strengths and mandates of each Office.


Similarly, as Member States we must also work together, both within our countries and between authorities and sectors as well as with other Member States. Indeed, coordination and cooperation between authorities has been identified as one key factor in countering organized crime and terrorism. Furthermore, it is important to build and improve partnerships with civil society, including humanitarian and private sector actors.


The Global Counterterrorism Forum has developed a number of practical guidelines and best practices relevant to today’s debate that can assist us in translating our shared visions and priorities into concrete partnerships. We welcome the increased UN-GCTF collaboration and we call for even further realization of potential synergies between the UN and the GCTF, in particular through GCTF-inspired institutions like the International Institute for Justice & the Rule of Law. The training institute in Malta presents an obvious platform for addressing many of the gaps identified in the Secretary General’s report through capacity building and experience sharing.


Mr. President,


A key prerequisite for promoting a rule of law-based approach is the need to move from convictions based on confessions alone to sentencing based on objectively verifiable evidence. Not only as a way of ensuring a rule of law based and human rights compliant criminal justice response to terrorism but also to ensure a more efficient and more comprehensive investigation and prosecution process, increasing the possibilities of exposing linkages between terrorists and individuals or networks involved in other forms of crimes. Such an approach shows that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are indeed complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives.


Thank you