Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General and General Assembly President Lykketoft for convening us on this very important topic. From Paris to Jakarta, from Bamako to San Bernardino, violent extremist ideologies drive some of the most senseless and brutal violence we see in our world today. These ideologies threaten our security, tear apart our societies, and challenge our deepest values.
For this reason, we applaud the Secretary-General for taking this much-needed first step at the United Nations. Under his leadership, the United Nations is well positioned to mobilize the international community for a long term struggle against these radical beliefs. The United States strongly supports the Secretary-General’s initiative and we will do our best to assist the Secretariat and other parts of the UN System to bring his vision to reality.
Mr. President, in responding to global threats in recent years, we have learned how racial and religious intolerance, lack of fair access to economic opportunities and political participation, poor governance and corruption, especially when coupled with repressive state policies resulting in the lack of adequate rule of law, can greatly fuel instability. Preventing and countering violent extremism is thus an essential component of creating more stable, more tolerant, and more functional societies.
But this challenge is complex. Violent extremism cannot be eradicated by using only one tool in our toolkit. Countries instead need to consider an “all-of-society” approach, where central government ministries partner with civil society, religious communities, youth, women, and education institutions. This is why the Secretary-General’s call for employing an “all-of-UN-approach” to help countries implement the Plan of Action is so important. No single UN agency can tackle this challenge alone. We need new thinking – and new collaboration among international bodies – to make an impact.
For this reason, we warmly welcome the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action and look forward to discussing it further in an upcoming General Assembly debate. Although we are still studying its details, we believe this plan can provide a durable framework for collective action. We were particularly pleased that the Secretary-General’s Plan incorporated lessons learned in this field by a wide range of international actors. It also integrated other relevant work, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2015 Amman Declaration on Youth, Peace, and Security, and the Security Council’s recent efforts.
Because of the Secretary-General’ strong commitment, we have confidence that the UN System will be able to make progress – but we can’t just leave this work to the UN alone. All of us must provide the Secretary-General the needed support to continue developing sustainable ways to prevent and counter violent extremism. Also, UN Member States should be developing their own national action plans focused on the priority areas identified by the Secretary-General.
This is an ambitious agenda. For this reason, we are pleased that the Secretary-General’s Plan has already received such broad support from different regions of the world. We look forward to working with colleagues to support this initiative and to realize this vision. Thank you.
Source: U.S Department of State
Editor in Chief