United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says the international community should mobilize resources in support of African countries as they strive to balance security and development.
Addressing the African Union’s Peace and Security Council that was held Saturday evening under the theme; ‘Towards a comprehensive approach to combat the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa’ the UN Chief said no single nation, institution, or organization can defeat terrorism in Africa or anywhere else by itself.
“We need a sustained, cooperative and coordinated approach in tackling this menace,” he said while outlining UN-AU combined efforts to fight terrorism.
Mr. Guterres said a comprehensive approach to combatting the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa could be developed around four key priorities.
First, by addressing the deficit in international counter-terrorism cooperation at the global, regional and national levels.
He told African leaders in attendance that in June, he will convene the first-ever UN Summit of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies to build on Member States’ priorities and their discussion in the meeting.
“Our goal is to enhance cooperation and the exchange of information, and develop new and innovative ways to tackle terrorism,” said Mr. Guterres.
The second success in countering terrorism will be greatly advanced through ratification of existing legal counter-terrorism instruments, conventions and protocols, he said, adding the UN was ready to provide the support needed to the African Union and Member States to implement these instruments.
The UN Chief said the threat posed by terrorism required addressing the root causes and underlying conditions as the third approach.
“I welcome the growing emphasis by the African Union and African Member States to address the drivers of violent extremism,” he said.
“It is crucial that our efforts include tackling the lack of economic opportunities, including extreme poverty, marginalization, exclusion and discrimination, while ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and human rights.”
Fourth and finally, Mr. Guterres said; “we must place a special focus on expanding opportunities for young people, especially since youth under the age of 25 form the largest demographic group in most developing countries and they are often the ones most at risk of being recruited and radicalised by terrorists”.
He said strategic investments in education and employment for young men and women were essential.