United Nations: UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces has stressed the need to ensure that UN resolutions on countering terrorism are strictly complied with, saying that the implementation gap has to be narrowed amid a shared understanding that terrorism is a global threat.
She noted that while the progress on adopting the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism (CCIT) has been slow, it does not mean the UN is not doing anything or that there is a lack in progress on counter-terror initiatives. “There is shared understanding that terrorism is a global threat and that the efforts to counter terrorism have to be put in place. This is not a one-country initiative. It has to be a collective responsibility,” Espinosa told PTI in an exclusive interview.
“There are things happening, of course, there is engagement and commitment as well. We have to really narrow the implementation gap that we have in the house. I have to acknowledge that. We pass several resolutions every year and we need to be very serious about making sure there are implemented and complied with,” she said.
Espinosa said that there are different perspectives on how to tackle the issue of counter-terrorism.
Commenting on why the progress on implementing the CCIT has been slow and what further can be done to ensure its speedy adoption, she said when “member states have to face decisions regarding a legally binding instrument, they get very nervous about that. There is more dialogue that is needed.”
India had proposed a draft document in 1996 on Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations but that draft has remained a draft even in the present day as UN member states cannot agree on a common language.
Espinosa acknowledged that the initiative by India on CCIT is a “very interesting initiative” and it has to have broader acceptance. “I think it’s natural that some countries become very careful when there is process that would lead to a legally binding instrument. We have to take the baby steps to reach a moment where there would be perhaps more engagement on the issue,” she said.
Espinosa said countries may feel that the end goal would be a legally binding instrument but it doesn’t mean the other efforts do not have a political weight, including for instance the strong resolutions passed in the General Assembly or the UN Human Rights Council. “Perhaps these are the steps towards a more comprehensive legally binding instrument,” she said.
Espinosa, Ecuador’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was in June elected President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, becoming only the fourth female president of the 193-member organization in its 73-year history.
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, a veteran Indian diplomat and sister of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first woman to be elected President of the General Assembly in as early as 1953. Later, Angie Elisabeth Brooks of Liberia was elected president in 1969 and Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain in 2006.