UN to review implementation of its Counter-Terrorism Strategy

3 September 2008 - On 4 September, the United Nations General Assembly will review the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which it adopted two years ago. The Assembly is expected to reaffirm the Strategy and call on all Member States and other international actors to step up efforts for its full implementation.

"The Global Strategy is a unique instrument," says Jean-Paul Laborde, Chief of UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch. "When it was adopted in 2006 it was the first time Member States agreed to a common strategic approach to fight terrorism, sending a clear message that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is unacceptable."

The Strategy consists of four pillars. These address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building States' capacity to prevent and combat terrorism; and ensuring the respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism.

While the onus lies with Member States, different UN agencies contribute to the Strategy's implementation in line with their respective mandates. For its part, UNODC was requested to step up activities relating to State capacity-building.

The Office's activities have included providing support to 158 countries to ratify and implement legal instruments against terrorism. As a result, 54 countries now have new or revised counter-terrorism legislation in different stages of adoption. The Office has also trained national criminal justice officials on the legal regime against terrorism and developed various technical assistance tools. UNODC underscores the need for a rule of law-based approach in all its technical assistance and related capacity-building activities.

UNODC also promotes the Strategy in other ways. In 2007, the Office co-organized a symposium on Advancing the Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy with the Government of Austria attended by over 350 participants, representing 107 Member States as well as different international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

In opening the symposium the Austrian Minister of Justice, H.E. Ms. Maria Berger, noted: "We know that the value of the comprehensive Strategy will prove itself only in its implementation. Hence, it is now an immediate challenge for the international community to promote the necessary awareness and political commitment for its implementation."

A Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2005, has an important role in ensuring coordinated efforts across the UN system. UNODC is an active member of the Task Force. Specifically, the Office is leading the development of an online counter-terrorism information exchange system to enhance cooperation among the various UN-system entities providing assistance to Member States for the implementation of the Strategy. UNODC is also working with the IMF and the World Bank to address the financing of terrorism.