New York, 14 February 2014
Your Excellency Mr. Román Oyarzun Marchesi, Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations,
Your Excellency Mr Levent Eler, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you on this beautiful day, the 14th of February.
At the outset, I have the pleasure to welcome Mr. Jean-Paul Laborde, the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), our keynote speaker for this UNAOC Ambassadorial meeting.
This is an especially important meeting for all of us as we are on the threshold of the 4th review process to the UN Global Strategy on Counter Terrorism.
It is particularly of special importance for the Alliance since Pillar one of the strategy “Measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism”, is a platform where the Alliance play in imperative role to do its preventive part in combating terrorism, in particular through our CVE activities “Combating Violence Extremism”.
In this regard, I would like to welcome as well, Dr. Jehangir Khan, the CTITF Director, who will present information on CVE and the level of coordination with the Alliance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Terrorism, is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce people or government. Generally, we can understand terrorism to be the use of violence or the threat of violence for political or ideological objectives by targeting soft targets, in particular civilians. The result is to instill fear and insecurity in the public at large.
The use of terror tactics to intimidate governments and people has a history stretching back to Antiquity.
History shows that terror that was religiously motivated, secular terror, motivated by Nationalism, state sponsored, left-wing or right-wing.
Today, there are some common forms of modern terror organizations, which pose a threat to countries. They are often pyramidic in structure. They contain a small leadership core at the Top followed down by a core group of operatives with an underlining foundation of activist supporters and passive sympathizers.
Often modern terror organizations are made up of a series of cells. These are teams, which are independent of one another for security purposes, usually mastering the intricacies of explosives and the latest computer technology.
There are some common activities carried out by these groups. They will plan and perpetrate unexpected violent acts, mostly against civilian targets and attract media attention, which results in the spread of fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
In addition to that, while the weapons of terrorists vary from guns to explosives, it is the potential use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, which pose the greatest threat to civilization.
On the other hand, none of these activities could be undertaken without money. Thus, financial operations of terrorist organizations are very important to their operations and terror groups have relied on a number of things to finance their activities including money laundering, criminal operations like the sale of drugs and other crimes.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is clear that the threat of terrorist acts became multifaceted and global on their effects on the international peace and stability. Security, human rights and development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Thus, there wont be prosperity without stability and harmony.
From the Alliance’s perspective, we need to combat the root factors that allow violent ideologies to spread, as mentioned in pillar one of the strategy.
In the same context, the UN Alliance of Civilizations’ foundational document, the High Level Group Report, mandates it to work on countering the factors that cause polarization, radicalization, and violence between and within communities.
In addition to what the strategy mentioned about the need for intercultural dialogue, as you are aware, Security Council Resolutions 1624 and 1963 emphasize need for greater dialogue between cultures and civilizations. Resolution 1963 directly references the UN Alliance of Civilizations and its vital role in fostering greater understanding and dialogue.
Since UNAOC is concerned primarily with the root causes and our activities fall under Pillar 1 of the UN Global Strategy, we focus in our work on three areas:
Young people: Our work strives to empower marginalized, at-risk young people in communities around the world and to mainstream youth voices into political processes through workshops, trainings, and small grants to fund local projects.
Media – here our focus has been to counter narratives that lead to incitement and hate speech. To achieve this, we have engaged in two types of activities:
Organizing training workshops for journalists in collaboration with senior media professionals and conflict resolution experts.
Providing a platform to voices of credible individuals who put out messages that counter hate speech and negative narratives.
Religion – in this area of work, we have engaged leaders of different faiths to speak out in their communities and engage in intra-faith dialogue to confront the issue of extremism.
As part of our community-focused approach, UNAOC builds trust and credibility with local civil society actors that is essential to our ability to provide effective programming that is, context-specific and tailored to local needs.
We also have close collaboration with the DPA and CTITF, at the institutional level in the UN system and by conducting joint activities to combat violent extremism.
Ladies and gentlemen,
CT efforts must be global and the 4 pillars should be observed and implemented all together in a balanced manner and prevention is what we need to increase instead of spending more resources on reaction.
Finally, UNAOC is willing to actively engage in the review process
Thank you and I wish us successful discussions.