Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


Fifth Meeting of the Global CT Coordination Compact Committee: Thematic Priorities and Operational Adjustments to Ensure Continued Support to Member States during the Pandemic

  28 August 2020


Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour to join you to discuss how we have ensured our sustained support to Member States during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis continues to complicate the terrorism landscape, as well as our collective ability to respond to evolving transnational threats.

Terrorists have resumed activities in some areas as COVID-19 restrictions have hampered law enforcement and reduced resources for criminal justice and border control operations.  

The threat appears to be escalating in the Sahel region and Mozambique. Attacks have re-started in Cameroon, Nigeria and Somalia, where Al-Shabaab has launched strikes against both government targets and civilians in recent weeks.

In the face of severe disruptions and movement restrictions, we have tailored UNODC assistance to accommodate the new “realities”, and to target specific counter-terrorism challenges that have come to the forefront during the COVID-19 crisis. 

UNODC has developed innovative delivery of legislative assistance and capacity building through our online Counter-Terrorism Learning Platform. Almost 500 officials from 60 countries have been trained since the start of the pandemic.

We have also delivered training through “hybrid” workshops, combining both online and in-person delivery.

We have invited all UN entities to use our online learning platform to reach their beneficiaries.

I am pleased to report that our work has led to notable outcomes. For instance, in April this year, Chad adopted a new CT law, building on two years of UNODC’s technical assistance support.   

Since much of daily life has moved online during the COVID-19 crisis, strengthening capacities to counter cybercrime and terrorists’ use of the Internet has become an even greater priority.

UNODC online training is helping Member States to prevent and counter related challenges, including cross-border requests for electronic evidence, open-source intelligence and social media investigations.

Drawing on UNODC’s broad criminal justice mandates addressing terrorism as well as organized crime, drugs and corruption, our office is further providing integrated support to identify and disrupt links between terrorist networks and transnational organized crime.

Earlier this month, USG Voronkov and I presented to the Security Council the Secretary-General’s report on the linkages between terrorism and organized crime, which noted the expertise of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact and its support in fighting organized crime and terrorism financing.

I am pleased that OCT and UNODC have continued to strengthen synergies, including through ongoing discussions on our forthcoming joint plan of action.

We have many solid examples of joint work to build on, to facilitate improved action and measure impact, including the planned meta-synthesis of evaluations of initiatives under the Global CT Strategy.

We are furthermore working closely with OCT and CTED on strategies related to prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters.

UNODC is also a key contributor to, and implementing partner in, the “UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme”, among other joint initiatives.

UNODC engages civil society in its work, particularly on preventing violent extremism among youth, in rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders, and in mainstreaming gender perspectives in terrorism prevention.  

Just last month, we invited civil society stakeholders, academics, experts and representatives of organizations to contribute to consultations to develop model legislative provisions supporting victims of terrorism. These model provisions are a good example of our continuing cooperation with UNOCT and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

UNODC is also looking ahead to anticipate and address threats in a post-COVID world facing resource constraints and heightened vulnerabilities to criminal and terrorist exploitation.

A strong Global Compact coordination framework is needed more than ever to avoid overlap or duplicative use of limited resources, while ensuring effective and efficient support to Member States.

For example, the Secretary-General has called for urgent, coordinated and integrated action by the UN family to support Mozambique, where terrorists have escalated attacks in the Cabo Delgado region, beheading civilians.

Militant attacks there have killed more than 1,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands since 2017.

UNODC has offered its full partnership to OCT-led coordination on the ground, building on our Office’s advanced engagement with Mozambique in criminal justice and counter-terrorism and strong national ownership of our ongoing programming.

Through such strategic and synergistic collaboration the UN family can respond with speed and agility in delivering support in Mozambique and elsewhere.

I will conclude by pledging UNODC’s full commitment to strengthening our partnership with you and the impact of our collective contributions to the Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact.

Thank you.