VIENNA, 9 May (UNODC) -- Making progress on implementing the action points contained in the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy will be the focus of a two-day Symposium to be held in Vienna on 17-18 May. The Symposium, convened jointly by the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Government of Austria, will bring together representatives of UN Member States, UN system entities, regional organizations and counter-terrorism experts to discuss how they can best work together on concrete measures required by the global strategy.
The Symposium will be the first major forum for those entities to take stock of their counter-terrorism capacities and actions since the adoption of the global strategy on 8 September 2006 by the General Assembly. This was the first time that all 192 Member States accepted a common blueprint for a coordinated, consistent and comprehensive response to terrorism at the national, regional and global levels. Apart from a political commitment to combat terrorism, the strategy also contains some 50 practical, operational measures for Member States to take, both jointly through the UN system and on their own. In adopting the strategy, the General Assembly also agreed to review its implementation in the second half of 2008.
The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which brings together UN system entities with a counter-terrorism mandate and is chaired by the Office of the Secretary-General, assists Member States in implementing the strategy. The strategy focuses on areas such as enhancing technical assistance, reducing radicalization, protecting human rights while countering terrorism, preventing and responding to attacks involving weapons of mass destruction, countering the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. tackling the financing of terrorism and protecting vulnerable targets.
Implementing the strategy is primarily the responsibility of Member States. The role of the United Nations counter-terrorism entities is to facilitate state action.
"Whatever we do can succeed only if you, the Member States, take full ownership of the strategy and its implementation, within your countries as well as regionally and globally," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Member States in February 2007.
The Vienna meeting is intended not only to raise attention of countries to the strategy but also to underscore their commitment to action and stimulate the sustained political will necessary to implement its provisions.
The Symposium will focus on the four key areas of the strategy's action plan:
measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism;
measures to prevent and combat terrorism;
measures to build state capacity and strengthen the United Nations to combat terrorism;
measures to ensure the protection and respect for human rights while countering terrorism.
The Symposium will also draw on UNODC's experience and expertise in providing technical assistance to Member States in building capacities to counter terrorism especially in the legal field.
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