Security Council Members Briefed on Threats from Terrorism and Cross-border Crime

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  • 2014•11•28     New York

    Photo: Junior Mekinda/Permanent Mission of Chad to the UN

    Photo: Junior Mekinda/Permanent Mission of Chad to the UN

    At the invitation of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Chad, James Cockayne, Head of the UNU Office in New York, briefed Members of the Security Council at the expert level on 25 November 2014. The briefing addressed Threats to International Peace and Security: Terrorism and Cross-Border Crime, the subject of an Open Debate in the Security Council, scheduled for 19 December under the Presidency of the Republic of Chad. Mr Cockayne’s 40-minute briefing, which drew extensively on research and drafting support from UNU’s Centre for Policy Research, focused on the impact of the intersection of terrorism and cross-border crime on the Council’s conflict resolution efforts.

    Explaining some of the issues considered during the briefing Mr. Cockayne stressed that, “There is a dangerous feedback loop between organized crime and conflict. Conflict facilitates organized crime, which in turn seems to impede conflict resolution. As we are seeing in Mali, Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan, once you add terrorism into the mix, the challenges seem to become even more substantial. Organized crime can enlarge the strategic space within which terrorist groups can operate, making them more resilient in the face of state action, and making conflict longer and deadlier, and possibly also more likely to harm civilians. The Security Council has a history of dealing with terrorism, organized crime and conflict resolution separately. The challenge now is to think through how to bring their responses together, at the strategic level.”

    Key messages delivered by Mr. Cockayne during the briefing included:

     

    • The Republic of Chad will preside over an Open Debate in the Council concerning threats to international peace and security: terrorism and cross-border crime on 19 December. The debate will focus in particular on the intersection of those two phenomena, in Africa, but also consider the broader impact of this intersection on international peace and security;
    • The intersection of cross-border crime and terrorism complicates the Security Council’s conflict prevention and resolution efforts, and raises the question of the tools available to the Council to address these impacts;
    • Reviewing relevant items from the Council’s agenda, cross-border crime: 1) increases the strategic space within which terrorists operate, by weakening state capabilities and authority, and in turn increasing terrorist groups’ capabilities and support; and 2) increases obstacles to effective conflict resolution through increased risk of: a) conflict relaps, b) cross-border spillover and resulting internationalization of conflict, c) harm to civilians and d) threats to mission personnel safety and security; and
    • The Security Council could initiate a formal ‘Strategic Review’ process to consider how the intersection of cross-border crime and terrorism may be impacting its conflict prevention and conflict resolution efforts, particularly in Africa, and to consider the the tools at its disposal (including peace operations, sanctions, the Council’s counter-terrorism bodies, and Article 34 investigations) for consideration alongside the report of the High-Level Panel on Peace Operations in 2015.

    The briefing was followed by a lively question and answer session.

    Mr. Cockayne noted that, “It was an honour to be invited by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Chad to brief members of the Security Council at the expert level. African states have a history of pioneering discussion on these issues in the Security Council over the last decade. The Open Debate will take that one step further, by focusing attention on how the intersection of terrorism and organized crime in Africa makes the Security Council’s conflict resolution tasks more difficult. This was a great opportunity for UN University to do exactly what we were charged with doing four decades ago by the General Assembly — helping the UN community access the best research and evidence to work through difficult policy issues.”

    See the Related Files tab to download the Concept Note for the UN Security Council Thematic Debate on 19 December 2014, under the Presidency of the Republic of Chad, on Threats to International Peace and Security: Terrorism and Cross-Border Crime.

  • Concept Note for the UN Security Council Thematic Debate on 19 December 2014

    Threats to International Peace and Security: Terrorism and Cross-Border Crime (112.3 KB PDF)