Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov, addresses the opening of the High-level Conference on Counter-Terrorism on June 28, 2018. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

On June 30 the General Assembly adopted its seventh consecutive consensus resolution (A/RES/75/291) on its 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the General Assembly’s review by a year, creating a syzygy with the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), the fifteenth anniversary of the strategy, and the tenth anniversary of the founding of the UN Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Not surprisingly, the seventh review and the events the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), organized as part of the second Counter-Terrorism (CT) Week, prompted a great deal of reflection regarding the United Nations’ response to post-Cold War terrorism.

In 1998, Al-Qaida killed 500 people and wounded 4,000 in Tanzania and Kenya, prompting the Security Council to adopt its first-ever terrorist sanctions regime (S/RES/1267). On 9/11, Al-Qaida killed nearly 3,000 people from some 90 countries and injured 25,000 others. And in 2014, Da’esh (also known as IS, ISIL or ISIS), seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and attracted more than 40,000 “foreign terrorist fighters” from nearly 100 countries; the Security Council responded with resolutions 2178 (2014), 2199 (2015), and 2396 (2017); it was in the context of the third that the General Assembly approved the Secretary-General’s 2017 recommendation to create UNOCT and bring high-level leadership and coherence to the UN’s inchoate approach to countering terrorism. Read more