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16th meeting of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Center for Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT)

Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán

Riyad, Saudi Arabia, April 17

Allow me first of all to thank the convening of this important meeting of the Advisory Board, and in particular the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and Ambassador Al-Mouallimi, for the generosity and hospitality of the Government of Saudi Arabia for hosting us here today in your beautiful country.

I would also like to reiterate Argentina's appreciation for the generous contribution and support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that led to the creation and establishment of the Center, as a fundamental tool in the shared common goal of fighting terrorism.

I would also like to acknowledge the presence of Secretary General António Guterres and sincerely thank him for his pertinent comments.

Finally, I wish to reiterate my congratulations to the Executive Director of the Center and head of the United Nations Office against Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, for the leadership shown since the adoption of 71/291, which created the Office and which put the Center under its orbit.

This Resolution effectively fulfilled the mandate from the 5th Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which my country had the privilege of co-facilitating in June 2016. Indeed, the creation of the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism is a step in the right direction, aimed at increasing the coordination and coherence of United Nations activities against terrorism in the four pillars of the Strategy, as well as the ability of the UN to assist Member States and mobilize the necessary resources in the fight against terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism conducive to terrorism.

The Argentine Republic has been a victim of international terrorism on two occasions, in the years 1992 and 1994. For this reason, our country has been one of the first to call attention to the need to establish clear definitions of the international community, to set the bases of a policy of cooperation and coordination in the fight against terrorism.

The Argentine action to prevent and eradicate terrorism is based on full respect for the rule of law and fundamental guarantees, international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international refugee law, as well as of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Argentina reiterates its support for the Center and the satisfaction of renewing its permanence in its Advisory Board for an additional period of three years, as one of the fundamental pieces in the implementation of the Strategy. In this framework, Argentina reiterates the need for a balanced implementation of the four pillars of the Strategy: (a) addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; (b) preventing and combating terrorism; (c) building capacity of Member States and strengthening the role of the United Nations system; and (d) guaranteeing universal respect for human rights and the rule of law as a fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism. This balanced implementation should also guide the programming and execution of the Center's activities.

I would like to reaffirm my country's strongest commitment to the Strategy and Resolutions adopted in the framework of its review, which contain the values ​​and principles of the United Nations that underpin the Argentine position in the fight against terrorism, as well as the new nuances acquired by terrorism and violent extremism that leads to terrorism in recent years.

The fight against terrorism requires an integrated and multidimensional approach that encompasses the widest possible levels of cooperation with the objective of confronting this threat in all its forms and manifestations.

Argentina considers that acts of terrorism constitute not only
a threat to international peace and security, but also a threat to life and human dignity, to peaceful and civilized coexistence, to the stability of democracy and to the consolidation and socio-economic development of nations.

Argentina considers the multilateral forums, such as the
United Nations, particularly the Security Council and its competent organs, as well as to hemispheric and regional organizations (OAS, MERCOSUR), as the most appropriate areas for effective action to prevent terrorism and coordinate the fight against this scourge based on close cooperation between States.

Question 1: Guidance to the Secretary General on the composition of the Advisory Board

We appreciate the opportunity to offer some ideas on this topic. The current composition, which dates back to 2012, had its logic at an initial moment in the Center. At the current juncture, six years after its creation, it seems to us that the Center has reached a point of maturity that merits consideration of some changes in its composition, taking also into account its "sui generis" nature.

My country has no objection to the expansion of the membership of the Advisory Board, which could result in a greater number of donors, and we look forward to obtaining more information about the options available in this regard.

It seems to us that it would be appropriate for the Center to be guided by the principle of equitable geographical representation, which is currently unbalanced (only two GRULAC members compared to 9 WEOG plus the EU). It would also be necessary to consider the means of appointment of members, allowing the possibility of elections as is the practice of the Organization for other comparable bodies.

It would be possible to take, as a point of reference, the Executive Boards of the different Funds and Programs, also from the point of view of their working methods, elaboration and processing of their documentation, etc. For example, the Center's reports should have the usual nomenclature of the other working documents of the organization.

Greater democratization and transparency of the Center's work will necessarily result in greater recognition and legitimacy of its actions .

Question 2: Future thematic and geographical priorities of the Center

We reiterate the need for these priorities to be translated, at the time of designing the projects, in a balanced implementation of the four pillars of the Strategy, which must be present, in a cross-cutting manner, in all the projects implemented by the Center.

Several of the current thematic priorities are consistent with those of my Government, such as human rights, the fight against the financing of terrorism, support for victims, border security, and prevention of violent extremism conducive to terrorism. In this regard, it is pertinent to mention that my country has submitted a draft declaration in the framework of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States to work on this issue at the hemispheric level.

The topics that are proposed as new priorities (use of weapons of mass destruction, internet and biotechnology) are also subjects that, in my delegation's opinion, deserve attention in the framework of future programs of the Center.

We could also suggest that the topic of the use of dual technologies be included. We share the concern about the increasing use of drones, which may be used to transport Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with terrorist ends. The availability and relative low cost of these devices facilitate their access and this greatly increases the dimension of the threat of its  use for violent purposes. For their characteristics, including the possibility of remote operation and its difficulty of detection, the drones represent a great challenge to traditional security measures. These devices use cameras, which film the actions
in which they are used, to be used later with propaganda purposes.

Regarding the geographic priorities of the Center, Latin America should also be included. In this regard, we can give as an example the positive contributions of the implementation of the "Mock Trial on the Financing of Terrorism and Related Serious Offenses" (UNCCT 2013-27 project), carried out in Argentina in the second half of 2016, and jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UNCCT and the Financial Intelligence Unit of Argentina, which also took place in Colombia in previous years. This, in order to continue contributing to the prevention and fight against terrorism in our region, which needs the contribution of international cooperation to successfully face this challenge.

It would perhaps be desirable for the Center to focus on a limited number of priorities in order to better coordinate these resources and obtain better results.

We believe that a principle that should guide this issue is that the formulation and execution of the projects must be driven by the demand of the interested States themselves. In this context, we must remember the role played by the Executive Direction of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTED) in its visit reports to the different countries, where it identifies the needs for capacity building of each one as well as the areas in which each country can offer your expertise to other countries.


Question 3: Use of funds and mobilization of resources in terms of sustainability, predictability and diversification

We share the need for the Center to have diversified, sustainable and predictable funding sources. This can be a particularly acute challenge in times of budgetary difficulties and fiscal austerity measures in several countries, including mine.

In this framework, the idea of ​​a multi-year appeal like the one proposed in the discussion note seems an attractive proposal, because it would consolidate annual commitments in priority program areas, resulting in predictable and sustained financing. Indeed, a financing scheme that is less dependent on earmarked contributions seems to be preferable.

The potential to offer contributions in kind could also be considered at this point, which in turn is linked to the issue of capacity building. In particular, there are various forms of South-South and Triangular cooperation, such as that offered by my country through the Argentine Fund for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (FO.AR), which the Center could assist in utilizing in its full potential.


Question 4: Evaluation of the impact of the Center's capacity-building assistance at the program and project level and ensure continuous improvements in the transparency of work

We welcome the measures adopted for a better control and evaluation of the impact of the Center's activities. In this framework, we await the results of the audit mentioned in the discussion note.

We appreciate the detailed information produced by the Center through its quarterly reports and its annual report. For a better processing of this information, it could be useful to have executive summaries well in advance, also to be able to consult effectively with our Capital.

We would also like to have more information about how the projects are generated and how their financing is decided.

A discussion about the mandate of the Board is also timely, in order to better understand what type of intervention or contribution can be made by the members of the Board (being aware of its advisory nature) for a better functioning of the Center in its important function within the framework of The United Nations.

Thank you very much.




Fondo argentino de cooperación sur-sur y triangular