Thank you, Mr. President.

I would like to first thank Tunisia, and all the co-hosts for this important meeting today. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a major challenge to the international community, including in efforts to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.

Alleviating the cross-cutting impact of the pandemic is crucial. The UAE, therefore, supported the Secretary-General’s call for a comprehensive ceasefire and supported Security Council resolutions 2532 and 2565, which are reflective of the international community’s commitment to support those affected by the pandemic in conflict areas. Furthermore, we provided 1944 tons of medical aid, including to countries impacted by armed conflict. The pandemic also underlined the challenge of terrorist groups exploiting digital space for incitement, propaganda, and recruitment. In this regard, the Sawab Center, a joint effort by the UAE and the US to counter extremist narratives online, launched several media campaigns during the pandemic, with topics ranging from exposing terrorist deception, to African civil society efforts at resisting extremism.

Considering the lessons learned from addressing the pandemic and its implications for combating terrorism and extremism, the UAE proposes the following to strengthen international counter-terrorism efforts:

  • First, build an action plan to facilitate providing necessary assistance in the event of an international disaster. Relevant UN agencies should prepare a draft action plan to be discussed by Member States, to serve as a basis for effective joint action.
  • Second, support counter-terrorism capacity-building exercises in vulnerable countries, at their request. Supporting vulnerable countries, in partnership with them, is imperative to preventing the worsening of their security situation.
  • Third, strengthen domestic measures, including legislation, in line with relevant international law that are aimed at countering the dissemination of hate speech, especially in the digital world, to prevent terrorist groups from exploiting online spaces to fuel hatred and encourage violence.
  • Finally, in order for these solutions to be sustainable, the Security Council and Member States have to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful inclusion of women, especially young women, at all levels.