The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.


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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Charge D’ Affaires, of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations on the Fifth Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

1 July 2016

Mr President,

Thank you for affording my delegation the floor and for presiding over the Fifth biennial Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. At the outset, let me assure you of my delegation’s support.

South Africa would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the “Activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy”, and the “Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism”, which provides useful recommendations for Member States to consider in the development of their national plans of action.

Mr. President,

As previous speakers have already mentioned, this event marks the 10-year commemoration of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which through its adoption by consensus in 2006, provided Member States with a credible, holistic and flexible mechanism to counter terrorism, which not only impacts on international peace and security, but also the fundamental rights and freedoms of those affected by it. Attacks on the African Continent and across the globe, most recently in Turkey, have shown that no country can regard itself as immune from terrorism.

In the decade since the adoption of the Strategy, our collective and individual successes have been hampered by the upsurge in global acts of terrorism, and the emergence of new and complex challenges, including the targeting of vulnerable groups, particularly children and the youth, both as victims and recruits.

We have seen the brutality and hatred espoused by terrorist organizations, who control territory and have access to vast resources, as well as by single-minded radicalized individuals who in their belief that they are right, indiscriminately use violent methods to plant fear and sow discord in communities. The increasing complexity of the terrorist threat, now, more than ever requires new and innovative ways of dealing with it and the conditions that give rise to it.

Mr. President,

The work done by the United Nations and its structures to support Member States in their implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as its efforts to find ways of countering these new and emerging threats, acknowledges the centrality and importance of the United Nations in leading the international campaign against terrorism.

My delegation continues to support a counter-terrorism approach that places the United Nations at the center of international efforts to find solutions in countering this threat. It also remains pivotal to the sharing of information, experiences and best practices.

The lead-up to this fifth review has provided an opportunity for all Member States to assess progress thus far and to consider ways for more effective cooperation in countering terrorism. My delegation supports initiatives that will improve coordination and cooperation among UN entities involved in countering terrorism and improved coordination between the UN and regional structures.  However, we are of the view that the creation of any new mechanism should be measured against its contribution to facilitating and assisting international efforts to counter terrorism, rather than duplicating work already being done in other structures.

South Africa prefers the adoption of a consensus resolution, because we believe that it will ensure a holistic and multifaceted approach to countering the scourge of terrorism. It will also address emerging threats and challenges, within the framework of human rights and the rule of law.  

We are firm in our belief that terrorism cannot be defeated militarily and cannot be dealt with solely through the use of force or coercive measures. To counter the narratives and ideologies of terrorism in the medium- to long-term, international cooperation must also address the factors that give rise to terrorism.

There is an urgent need to understand and address the conditions and contexts that make terrorism an attractive option to the disaffected. There is also a continued need for the global community to address long-outstanding conflicts in accordance with international law and international human rights law. Unresolved, these conflicts could become the incubators of terrorism.

However, terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggles by national liberation movements for self-determination and statehood as provided for in numerous resolutions of this Assembly. The struggle for human dignity and equality and the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms cannot be conflated with terrorism, extremism and violent extremism.

In addition, my delegation believes that extremism in itself deserves attention as it may be a precursor to violent extremism and terrorism. This should, therefore, be addressed on an equal footing and with the same emphasis.

South Africa supports the implementation of the four pillars of the Strategy in a balanced and integrated manner. A balanced approach would imply that in addition to the steps that are being taken to prevent and counter terrorism, including addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and the building of member States’ capacity, the international community maintains its commitment to its objectives to eradicate poverty, promote sustained economic growth as well as sustainable development and prosperity for all.  

Engagement, including through education, eliminating inequalities and working with disadvantaged groups of society, particularly the youth, and developing appropriate strategies at the national, regional, and international level remains critical. There is no one-size fits all approach in countering this threat - it is up to each country, sub-region and region to contextualize its specific conditions and take appropriate actions in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and in observance of international law and humanitarian law.

This has informed both South Africa’s national counter-terrorism strategy, as well as the counter-terrorism strategy for the Southern African region. The institutionalized cooperation between the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council presents an ideal opportunity to strengthen cooperation in countering terrorism based on the specific requirements of the Continent.

Mr President,

Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization. We therefore welcome and support initiatives and efforts that promote dialogue, tolerance, diversity and understanding among peoples, cultures and religions. Acts of mobilization directed against individuals, communities or nations, simply because of their faith, language or race cannot be justified.

In conclusion, Mr President, I would like to reiterate my delegation’s commitment to continue working within the United Nations and other multilateral structures to seek ways of countering the threat posed to international peace and security by terrorist acts effectively and efficiently.

I thank you!