UN Secretary General calls for Enhanced UN-AU Cooperation to Counter Terrorism

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for upgrading cooperation between the world organization and the African Union to counter the scourge of terrorism, pointing out that no single nation, institution, or organization can defeat terrorism in Africa or anywhere else.

António Guterres, who was addressing a special meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday, “called for a sustained, cooperative and coordinated approach in tackling this complex, ever-evolving menace,” according to a UN press release.

“The African Union (AU) is a vital partner in confronting the global challenge posed by terrorist groups, said Guterres, adding that he had been calling for a “higher platform of cooperation” with the AU, and that he is proud the two organizations are indeed building that platform across the range of challenges and opportunities confronting the continent.

The two organizations signed in April 2017 the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, which includes cooperation in the field of countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, he recalled, suggesting the setting out of a road map for future collaboration and capacity-building support on countering terrorism within the context of that Framework.

He also recalled that one of the first reforms he instituted, as Secretary-General was the creation of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism. Guterres said the office has worked closely with the AU and other partners to develop regional strategies and national action plans for the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism in the Horn of Africa, central and southern Africa and in Africa at large.

Underscoring that terrorism is not only a threat to peace and security but also to sustainable development, Guterres called on the international community to mobilize resources in support of African countries as they strive to balance security and development.

The UN chief advocated a comprehensive approach to combatting the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa, namely through addressing the deficit in international counter-terrorism cooperation at the global, regional and national levels and through ratifying existing legal counter-terrorism instruments, conventions and protocols.

The approach he called for also encompasses tackling the root causes and underlying conditions leading to terrorism, including the lack of economic opportunities, extreme poverty, marginalization, exclusion and discrimination; and placing a special focus on expanding opportunities for young people, who are often the ones most at risk of being recruited and radicalized by terrorists.