posted on THU 9 MAY 2013 3:13 PM
Briefing by Counter-Terrorism Committee Chairs

Tomorrow (10 May), the Security Council is scheduled to hold its semi-annual briefing of the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees. (The last such debate was held on 14 November 2012.) The briefers will be Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), who chairs the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco), who chairs the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), and Ambassador Kim Sook (Republic of Korea), who chairs the 1540 Committee, concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the context of recent terrorist attacks in Africa and the upcoming debate on the challenges of the fight against terrorism in Africa (to be held on 13 May), this briefing is likely to be an opportunity for Council members to cover a wide range of issues which are highly relevant to the Council’s current work on counter-terrorism.

1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
Council members will have the opportunity to hear the first briefing from Quinlan in his capacity as chair of the 1267/1989 Committee. They might want to know more about the objectives Australia has in mind for its chairmanship, namely how to weaken the operational capacity of Al-Qaida and its affiliates and allies (64 different entities and 226 individuals are currently targeted in the consolidated list), and how to increase cooperation with member states in order to increase the deterrent capacity of targeted listing.

Given the increasing attention the Council is paying to the Sahel region, Council members might be interested in the new listings of the 1267/1989 Committee, which have focused on the region. All the individuals listed so far in 2013 by the 1267/1989 Committee operate in the Sahel, as do the last two entities listed, Mouvement pour l’Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO) and Ansar Eddine, which were added on 5 December 2012 and 19 March 2013 respectively. Quinlan might also want to brief the Council on the special meeting of the Committee that was held in March on the situation in Mali.

In anticipation of the upcoming semi-annual briefing of the Ombudsperson, Kimberly Prost, to the Council, Council members might be interested in getting more information on the interaction between the Office of the Ombudsperson and the Committee, as well as the cases Prost is currently investigating.

1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee
On the CTC, Council members seem keen on receiving an update by Loulichki on its recently approved 2013 work programme for the CTC and the CTC Executive Directorate (CTED). The activities include the organisation of meetings open to the wider UN membership such as a special event later this month on the use of information technology in the prevention of terrorism and a special meeting on the fight against terrorism in the Sahel later in the year. A topic for a special event on border control included in the 2012 work programme which was never organised seems to be in the agenda for this year.

Council members might also be interested in having an overview of the different visits and capacity building activities to be carried out by CTED, as well as on the anticipated effect of the transition from the Preliminary Implementation Assessment (PIAs) to the Detailed Implementation Survey (DIS) and the Overview of Implementation Assessment (OIA) as the new diagnostic tools to facilitate targeted technical assistance to member states.

Finally, it seems that Council members might be interested in getting further information on the concrete steps taken by both the CTC and CTED on the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as on the implementation of resolution 1624 (2005). (Resolution 1624 called upon all States to prohibit by law and to prevent incitement to commit a terrorist act and to deny safe haven to any persons that might be guilty of such conduct, as well as to strengthen the security of their international borders.)

1540 Committee
Council members will also hear the first briefing by Kim as chair of the 1540 Committee. In addition to covering the work of the 1540 Committee, his briefing is expected to include an update on the continuing cooperation among the three Committees and their Groups of Experts.

It is possible that Kim will touch upon the annual review of the implementation of resolution 1540 which was submitted to the Council on 27 December (S/2012/963). (These reviews, which were requested by resolution 1977, are prepared with the help of the Group of Experts assisting the Committee.) The review contained a number of recommendations aimed at improving implementation, including:

  • encouraging states to submit additional information on a voluntary basis on steps taken to implement the resolution;
  • seeking universal reporting by states;
  • increasing efforts to identify states’ assistance needs;
  • continuing to promote visits to interested states in order to identify effective practices;
  • facilitating cooperation between the Committee and regional organisations; and
  • enhancing the Committee’s communication activities, in particular through its website.

One of the stated priorities of the new chair is to achieve universal reporting by UN member states on implementation of the resolution before its tenth anniversary in 2014. (At the first Committee meeting after assuming the chairmanship, Kim announced that 2014 would be the “Year of Universality”.) It is therefore likely that efforts towards this goal will be highlighted in the briefing. (Although participation so far has been encouraging, there are still 24 states who have not yet submitted such reports.)

Another point that Council members may want to raise in the meeting is the Committee’s 2013 programme of work which is due on 31 May and is currently being discussed by Council members. Drafting of the programme of work is coordinated by the UK, one of the Committee’s two vice-chairs. A first draft was circulated to Council members last week for comments. It appears that the UK has proposed changing the format of the programme of work slightly compared with previous years to make it more operational and action oriented. The main change seems to be that the annex on the working groups has been incorporated into the main part of the document. (The Committee has four working groups: on implementation, cooperation, assistance and transparency. They are being coordinated by Guatemala, Morocco, France and the US respectively.) It is unclear yet whether all Council members are prepared to support this new approach.