Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    2 August 2017


    Remarks of the Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov:

    UN Security Council meeting on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, focussing on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons

    by Video Teleconference, 2 August 2017

    VIENNA, 2 August (UN Information Service) - Allow me to begin by commending the Presidency of Egypt for holding a meeting on this very important topic.

    As the Security Council has recognized on several occasions, preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons, including conventional arms as well as weapons of mass destruction, is essential to countering terrorism.

    Terrorists obtain weapons by many means, in all parts of the world, facilitated by access to poorly secured stockpiles; weak border management; the use of online platforms, included hidden marketplaces; and diversion linked to poor transfer controls.

    Illicit weapons trafficking is often associated with other forms of organized crime.

    Furthermore, the Security Council has highlighted the growing threat to international peace and security posed by the nexus of organized crime and terrorism, with terrorist groups benefitting from crime, and from links with organized criminal networks.

    Preventing weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists thus presents complex challenges, requiring integrated, multifaceted criminal justice responses.

    The UN Office on Drugs and Crime is entrusted with promoting implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, including its Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

    UNODC also supports implementation of the international instruments against terrorism, the conventions on corruption and drugs, and the UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice.

    Seven of the nineteen international legal instruments related to counter-terrorism address criminalization of conducts by non-State actors regarding chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as well as nuclear and other radioactive material.

    UNODC also works closely with the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts to prevent acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors.

    We support implementation of the Firearms Protocol to prevent and combat illicit manufacturing, diversion and trafficking in firearms and ammunition, and to enhance States' capacities to go after criminal organizations engaged in the illicit firearms business and related forms of crime.

    This includes enhancing national policies and legislation as well as firearms management and collection and destruction activities; technical assistance tools and capacity building; and promoting and facilitating international cooperation and information exchange.

    Through our Global Firearms Programme, UNODC is working in key parts of the world, including the Maghreb and the Sahel as well as the Western Balkans, to strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking in firearms and its links to terrorism.

    The Office also took part in a briefing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on this topic in May, and we are in discussions with CTED to explore synergies for further activities.

    However, there remain many challenges with preventing, detecting, investigating and successfully prosecuting illicit trafficking in weapons, including inadequate regulatory environments and data collection; lack of specialized skills and equipment; and lack of coordination within and between countries and regions.

    Looking ahead, we need to further strengthen cross-border partnerships and operational responses, promote the involvement of diverse stakeholders, including the private sector, and step up tailored assistance to address gaps in capacity.

    UNODC remains fully engaged in providing comprehensive support through our integrated country, regional and global programmes and network of field offices, in coordination with our UN partners as well as partners such as INTERPOL.

    Our Global Container Control Programme with the World Customs Organization is helping to detect and stop illicit trade within the global supply chain at sea and air ports.

    We are supporting governments to curb corruption and money laundering, as well as combat cybercrime and the exploitation of the Internet for terrorist purposes - all of which represent critical elements of an integrated response to prevent and disrupt terrorism and organized crime.

    We look forward to working closely with the new Office for Counter-Terrorism to ensure that our work is as efficient and effective as possible.

    UNODC welcomes the resolution adopted today by the Security Council, which we take as important guidance to further advance our efforts to respond to this threat.

    Thank you.

    * *** *

    For further information, please contact:

    Sonya Yee
    Programme Officer, UNODC
    Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990
    Email: sonya.yee[at]