Dear Under-Secretary-General Voronkov,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to be with you to launch our UNODC Global Programme on Preventing and Countering Terrorism 2022-2027.
Terrorism continues to evolve, last year 7,142 people were killed by terrorism, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
And Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost half of all terrorism deaths globally.
Groups like Al-Qaida, Da’esh and their affiliates are expanding in the Sahel and making inroads into Central and Southern Africa.
I briefed the Security Council only last month about the financing of terrorist and armed groups in Africa, through the illicit trafficking of natural resources.
We also continue to see terrorist threats in the Middle East, where I come from, and where I have seen terrorism first-hand and in South and Southeast Asia.
It is escalating. Conflicts, severe climate and drought, poverty and hunger, injustice and weak governance, collide to create breeding grounds for extremists.
It is imperative that the UN system, as represented by many of you here today, works together to leverage the tools at our disposal to build resilience to terrorism.
So that we can better protect the people that we are here to serve.
UNODC’s new Global Programme to Prevent and Counter Terrorism seeks to do exactly this. Together with our partners, we support Member States to prevent and counter terrorism through inclusive strategies, policies, and legal means, that focus on the safety and protection of people.
UNODC currently operates in almost 100 countries around the world, through a network of 130 field offices.
Promoting the rule of law, and access to justice is at the heart of our work.
And we draw on our extensive field presence, to deliver assistance and build capacity on the ground, tailored to the local conditions.
Our new programme builds on two decades of UNODC’s experience to counter and prevent terrorism.
I am proud of our accomplishments. We have:
--Trained over 37,000 criminal justice and law enforcement officials to help prevent and counter terrorism,
--We have supported Member States to adopt or ratify international legal instruments against terrorism, and to draft and revise over 200 pieces of legislation, incorporating the provisions of the international legal instruments against terrorism into national legislation; and
--Published over 70 tools, publications, and resources on terrorism prevention.
Our new programme targets three key outcomes:
Firstly, we will step up our efforts to support Member States' accession and adherence to the international legal framework against terrorism and will assist countries to implement them.
Secondly, we will help Member States develop and implement inclusive terrorism prevention policies and practices built on strong partnerships, youth empowerment, and a gender-responsive approach.
Lastly, we will support the development of more robust and accountable criminal justice institutions that can investigate and prosecute terrorism cases effectively and cooperate across borders, while respecting and upholding human rights.
We will focus on reducing the risks associated with terrorism by creating the conditions for individuals and communities to be part of the solution, with the active and equal participation of women and girls as well as young people.
Our new vision makes it clear that:
People must be front and center of our work, and
The upholding of human rights is critical to counter-terrorism efforts, and to upholding public authorities’ credibility.
A concrete example is UNODC’s support to Nigerian officials to review the cases of over 3,000 detainees. This has led to over 650 terrorism convictions since 2016.
UNODC support to counter-terrorism prosecutors resulted in the release of 2,900 people due to insufficient evidence. And the Nigerian government also freed 580 children from detention facilities.
Most importantly, UNODC is uniquely placed to address the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime. Illicit financial flows, human trafficking, and border control are some areas of our work.
A concrete example is UNODC’s assistance to Morocco to counter the financing of terrorism. It led to a 340% increase in the number of investigations and prosecutions related to terrorism financing cases and a 40% increase in appointments of female analysts in the unit.
Our new programme also aligns with broader changes at UNODC, to consolidate programmes, and direct resources to our field operations. This includes focusing more effort and personnel in the field: for border management, maritime crime, and container control.
We must always focus on the impact on people and how responses can be improved.
Terrorist attacks inflict horrific physical and emotional damage on victims, survivors, and families.
Many victims have long-lasting disabilities and remain deeply traumatized.
A concrete example is UNODC’s project to strengthen the Iraqi criminal justice system. It is designed to protect victims of terrorism in criminal proceedings and promote victims’ rehabilitation and empowerment through psychological support. Some survivors have reported that the assistance allowed them to enroll in university and establish new support networks.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have listened to you, our Member States, our partners in the field, and in the UN system.
We have listened to youth leaders, academics, and those in the private sector.
Our new programme is a result of an independent, in-depth evaluation and extensive consultations with a broad range of stakeholders.
It is more inclusive, agile, prevention- and human rights-based.
And with your support, it will be effective.
We look forward to a successful partnership with all of you through this new programme.
Because we must stop terrorist groups from exploiting young people, women, and those living in dire conditions.
And we must work to protect and prevent future terrorist atrocities.