The UN General Assembly launched a major effort on Thursday to break boundaries and coordinate globally the fight against the scourge of terrorism by setting up an office headed by a high-level functionary to coordinate all counter-terrorism efforts.
The first major reform effort of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who took office in January with a pledge to make the UN more effective, the initiative was approved unanimously by the UNGA after its President Peter Thomson said it would reaffirm the view of all member states that all acts of terrorism are criminal regardless of whoever commits it for whatever cause.
The OCT will takeover the UN efforts now split among the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre.
India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said after the vote that the OCT "will align the UN with the changed global reality and needs of the international community", adding that it was a "much-awaited first step in our efforts to enhance coordination of the UN's counter-terrorism efforts".
"Terrorism networks are not bound by borders norms legal frameworks and bureaucratic inertia that binds us as member states of the UN at all levels," he said underlining the need for such an office.
"While terrorism networks use modern platforms, social media, cyberspace and parallel worlds existing alongside us in hidden transnational networks we cannot work in silos created either by boundaries or bureaucracy."
Warning against any nation supporting terrorism, he quoted Guterres, who said in Kabul that "support of terrorism entails a very high price".
According to diplomats, Russia is lobbying for the crucial new post of Under-Secretary-General for counter-terrorism.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com)
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