Security Council Briefing: Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts

Statement by Lise Gregoire van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 13 February 2018

Mr President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands would like to thank the Permanent Representative of Peru for today’s briefing on terrorism and critical infrastructure in its capacity of Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee. Today it’s exactly one year after the adoption of resolution 2341.

Financial networks, energy facilities and food distribution systems do not only form the pillars of our countries, they are vital to the welfare of our societies. Much of these networks and systems transcend borders. As such, critical infrastructure underlines our vulnerability, as well as the close linkages between our countries and our national security.

Mr President,

In my intervention, I would like to focus on three important aspects:

  1. Protection of soft targets;
  2. Public-private partnerships;
  3. Further multilateral action.

Soft targets

Mr President,

Firstly, protecting our critical infrastructure is vital to enhance our security.

A specific concern is protecting soft targets. We have all been shocked by terrorist attacks on concert halls, markets and hotels. These attacks have huge impact on our societies.

As we wìll not change our way of life or give in on our freedoms, we have to enhance our resilience. Enhancing resilience starts with appropriate risk assessments based on solid risk analyses.

Developing these assessments requires the involvement of all relevant stakeholders. The government should play a facilitating role in this, but it is up to the private sector to take their responsibility as well.

Public-private partnerships

This brings me to my second point. In many countries, the majority of critical infrastructure is privately owned. In the Netherlands, this figure is even 90%, making public-private partnerships essential. We need to involve private partners in sharing knowledge and shaping our policy.

Therefore, in the Netherlands, we have set up so-called Information Sharing and Analysis Centres. These centres have been set up across 11 sectors, including finances, energy and cyber security.

For cyber, the scale of insecurity caused by the proliferation of significant cyber incidents will demand increased action from all stakeholders. To this end, our National Cyber Security Centre facilitates sharing information between critical infrastructure partners, including from the private sector, to mitigate the impact of cyber incidents.

Further multilateral action

Mr President, my third and final point is on multilateral action. Even though protecting critical infrastructure is a national competence, the UN and other multilateral organizations have an important supporting role to play.

CTED plays a central role in mapping countries’ capacities to protect critical infrastructure and identifying possible gaps. The Office of Counter-Terrorism is key for coordinating subsequent capacity building by the UN.

Other organizations are equally important. For example in the context of the European Union, the Netherlands and the EU, together with public and private partners, organized a tabletop exercise to practice a possible disruption of electricity networks.

Like Peru and the US and others before us, I would also like to highlight the work done by the Global Counterterrorism Forum, or GCTF. Last September, the GCTF launched the ‘Antalya Memorandum on the Protection of Soft Targets in a Counterterrorism Context’. This initiative, led by the US and Turkey, offers publicly available and ready to use good practices to include in national policies.

As co-chair of the GCTF, we are grateful to the various UN entities that have contributed to the development of these good practices.

In conclusion, Mr. President, we welcome the progress made in implementing resolution 2341 and encourage further cooperation between Member States and between multilateral organisations.

Only by working together, we can increase our national ànd global security.

Thank you very much.