Remarks on the UN General Assembly Adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations New York, New York June 22, 2023


Mr. President, we welcome the adoption by consensus of the eighth review of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy. We also thank Ambassadors Rae of Canada and Ladeb of Tunisia and their teams for co-facilitating this difficult, but important, negotiation process.

When the Strategy was adopted in 2006, the counterterrorism landscape looked very different. Today, the threat is more ideologically and geographically diffuse than ever before. Al-Qa’ida and ISIS branches and affiliates remain resilient and determined, especially in Africa and Afghanistan.

We are seeing terrorists use new and emerging technology such as unmanned aerial systems, artificial intelligence, and encrypted communications to radicalize new recruits to violence and commit acts of terrorism. We must continue our collective efforts to sustain effective counterterrorism pressure against these adversaries. Through this update to the GCTS, we can keep pace with this evolving threat. 

The negotiations were fraught, but it is critical that we preserved robust text on the important role of civil society, gender equality, and human rights in this resolution.

We are also glad to see the GCTS recognize the Secretary-General’s report on “terrorist attacks on the basis of xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief” – or what the United States refers to as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism. The GCTS is clear in condemning terrorism in all its forms and calling out the danger of violence motivated by religious prejudices. We emphasize the importance of careful research on these phenomenon and whole-of-society approaches, including in the field of prevention.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s numerous calls for Member States to redouble their efforts to repatriate their nationals from northeast Syria. As such we strongly support the updated text in the GCTS calling on Member States to provide technical assistance and build capacity to repatriate, rehabilitate, reintegrate, and where appropriate, prosecute foreign terrorist fighters and associated family members. The United States stands ready to assist Member States in their efforts on this front. As the Secretary-General said during his visit to the Jeddah-1 camp in March 2023, “we must prevent the legacy of yesterday’s fight from fueling tomorrow’s conflict.”

We are disappointed that this resolution was not updated to include a more significant focus on one of the most pressing emerging challenges we are all dealing with globally, the threat from the use of unmanned aerial systems – UAS – for terrorist purposes. We must be vigilant in countering terrorist use of this technology. We have seen terrorists carry out attacks using UAS, including against critical infrastructure, as well as using UAS for propaganda and surveillance purposes.

We must continue to enhance transparency and accountability and monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the GCTS by UN entities. We look forward to 2026, when we will reconvene to mark twenty years since the initial adoption of the strategy.

We will submit an additional explanation of position in detail for the record. Thank you, Mr. President.