10 May 2012 - A two-day conference aimed at improving the control of explosive substances in order to hinder terrorists' access to them, organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and UNODC, started in Vienna today.
UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, said "there is an appreciation that terrorism requires an integrated and comprehensive global approach. The objective of UNODC is to support United Nations Member States by building capacities and offering technical assistance at the national, regional and global levels."
"Recent terrorist attacks in Ukraine and the Russian Federation are a tragic reminder of the urgency to hinder terrorist access to explosive substances," said Lamberto Zannier, the OSCE Secretary General, in his opening remarks. "Today's event highlights our strong commitment to strengthening control over such substances and to lessening the terrorist threat."
Mr. Fedotov noted that the successful delivery of technical assistance by UNODC to Member States to suppress and prevent terrorism has been fostered through cooperation with regional and international organizations, in particular OSCE. Drawing on their comparative advantages, UNODC and OSCE had much to offer each other and the international community, he added.
During the conference, more than 170 experts from 54 OSCE participating States and partners for cooperation and 11 international and regional organizations, as well as private sector representatives, will discuss investigation methods, early warning, detection systems and multilateral initiatives. Experts will also share experiences on legal and practical tools to improve effectiveness in the control of explosives and chemical substances, given that fertilizers and many other chemicals that can be used by terrorists to prepare homemade explosives are easily accessible in the market.
Sixteen international counter-terrorism instruments have been adopted and UNODC provides specialized assistance to Member States in the ratification and implementation of those instruments. In addition, UNODC addresses related issues, such as the financing of terrorism and strengthening the rule of law, while focusing on strengthening the capacity of criminal justice officials to prevent and address acts of terrorism.
UNODC has enhanced coordination and partnerships with the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force established by the Security Council.
Mr. Fedotov noted that the United Nations continues to be a soft target for terrorists. In August last year, a car bomb was detonated outside the United Nations building in Abuja killing 25 people, including a UNODC staff member.