Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I thank Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Acting Executive Director Chen for their valuable briefings, and I also took note of the informative briefing from Ms. Praxl from the Global Center on Cooperative Security.
In January alone, 10 attacks in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Syria by Da’esh resulted in an estimated 50 people killed and even more wounded.
This is a stark illustration of a simple fact illuminated by many of the statements here today that the international community has been unable to find an effective framework for responding to the evolving nature of terrorism.
To combat this threat, we urgently need an updated and refocused strategy to address the root causes of terrorism, and to prevent and counter the new phenomena of terrorists using ever increasingly sophisticated technology.
The international community must launch sustainable partnerships with local stakeholders. By working with grassroots organizations, as well as religious and community leaders, we have to tackle local grievances and prevent terrorists from exploiting those challenges for propaganda and recruitment for our strategy to be effective.
Terrorist propaganda networks are extremely resilient: despite the demise of two Da’esh leaders this past year, the group’s media arms remain worryingly active. In Afghanistan, Da’esh-Khorasan’s nihilistic propaganda is being published in local and regional languages to reach the maximum number of possible recruits.
We have to adapt and be agile in response to this evolving threat and make sure that alternative messages reach people before the propaganda does. These messages must be tailored to address local concerns and promote the values of human fraternity such as peaceful co-existence, interreligious dialogue, equality, and tolerance. We should commit to a comprehensive architecture addressing extremism as the antithesis of these values. On the occasion of the “International Day of Human Fraternity” last week, the Secretary-General underlined the danger of religious extremism undermining peace everywhere.
In parallel, affected populations must be offered a path to rehabilitation that leaves no place for terrorists. Access to education, economic inclusion, and a secure and stable environment have to be at the heart of this approach. Importantly, this applies equally to women, men, girls, and boys. Ensuring the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in decision-making roles in the development of these approaches is also integral for their success, as our civil society briefer today outlined.
The UAE welcomes the SG’s recognition that root causes of radicalization by Da’esh must be at the core of our collective measures against this terrorist group. We therefore encourage an increased focus in the SG’s reporting on how terrorists exploit these conditions to consolidate and expand their control.
New and emerging technologies in the hands of terrorist groups pose an urgent threat to international peace and security. Governments and the private sector will have to collaborate closely to combat this misuse.
Some analysts estimate that more than 20 non-state armed groups, including terrorists, have already acquired drones. Others believe that as many as 60 such groups are in the possession of drones today. This discrepancy shows the need for enhanced data collection and analysis as well as close monitoring.
Da’esh and other terrorist groups continue to expand their drone arsenal for surveillance, reconnaissance, the filming of propaganda footage – and for carrying out attacks. Terrorists are able to acquire drones and drone components which are ever more readily available. This is also due to a lack of awareness of red flags by state authorities and among legitimate online retailers that have to be monitored in the trade of this technology.
I would like to stress here that the terrorist proliferation of drones can be addressed without stifling innovation. The UAE recommends strengthened international cooperation, based on transparent regulatory standards, between relevant state institutions responsible for trade, customs, transportation, border control, and others relevant to a country’s specific context. The private sector plays a vital role in furthering the legitimate use of drone technology while employing appropriate due diligence measures.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee took a key step last year by adopting the Delhi Declaration which offers non-binding guidance to stakeholders on how to counter the terrorist use of new and emerging technologies. As the current Chair of this Committee, the UAE intends to build on this important achievement.
Despite its territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria four years ago, Da’esh remains a significant threat to all of us. If we want to succeed in our fight against the group, we must address the root causes of terrorism, and effectively prevent terrorist access to advanced technology, which is why this has been the focus of my statement today.
Business as usual is no longer an option.
The UAE intends to work diligently with all of you to close these existing gaps in the counter-terrorism architecture.
Thank you, Madam President.