Concerted efforts needed to combat terrorism

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Leaders of the BRICS Member States have called for the adoption of a holistic approach to fight terrorism in all its forms, while ensuring that terrorists have no place to hide.

“We urge concerted efforts to counter terrorism under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis and express our conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure an effective fight against terrorism,” the leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said in the Johannesburg Declaration adopted on the second day of the 10th summit.

The five leaders -- President Cyril Ramaphosa, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer -- called upon the international community to establish a genuinely broad counter-terrorism coalition and support the UN's central coordinating role in this regard. 

While reaffirming their commitment to UN counter-terrorism efforts, the leaders were of the view that the fight against terrorism must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international refugee and humanitarian law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“We call for the expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly.”

To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, BRICS countries emphasised the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the Conference on Disarmament.

They believe that those responsible for committing, organising, or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.

“We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering radicalisation, recruitment, travel of foreign terrorist fighters, blocking sources and channels of terrorist financing including, for instance, through organised crime by means of money-laundering, supply of weapons, drug trafficking and other criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the Internet by terrorist entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs),” reads the declaration.

Countries urged to ensure safe use of ICT

Because terrorists were using technology and exploiting legal loopholes in the system to further their agendas, the BRICS leaders reaffirmed the importance of the elaboration under the UN auspices of rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of States in ensuring security in the use of ICTs. 

Although the leaders said they embrace the undeniable benefits and new opportunities brought about by the advances in ICTs, especially in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they felt that these advances also bring with them new challenges and threats resultant from the growing misuse of ICTs for criminal activities, and the increasing malicious use of ICTs by State and non-state actors.

In this regard, they stressed the importance of international cooperation against terrorist and criminal use of ICTs and the need to develop a universal regulatory binding instrument within the UN on combatting the criminal use of ICTs.

The bloc has already developed a BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs. The Member States are also looking into establishing a framework of cooperation among themselves to ensure security in the use of ICTs. They are also considering a BRICS intergovernmental agreement on cooperation on this matter.

Agriculture, climate change

The leaders reaffirmed and supported the establishment of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform (ARP) initiated by India in 2016.

“We appreciate the fundamental importance of research, development and innovation in global sustainability and competitiveness. We endeavour to strengthen the agricultural research collaborative networks among the BRICS countries to enhance the resilience of the collective agricultural and food systems in the face of the changing climate,” the Johannesburg Declaration reads.

The leaders recognise the need for follow-up steps in implementing the aims and objectives of the ARP, while committing to step up intra-BRICS collaboration, including within the framework of the Agriculture Research Platform and the Basic Agriculture Information Exchange System (BAIES).

The group also welcomed the commitment to enhance cooperation in the field of water on the basis of sustainable development in an integrated manner. The cooperation covers flood protection, drought management, water supply and sanitation, water and climate, water pollution prevention and control, river and lake ecosystem restoration and preservation, ecosystem conservation, and water resources management.

In the field of biodiversity conservation, BRICS committed to the sustainable use and equitable access and benefit sharing of biological resources. The countries undertook to promote cooperation in biodiversity-related international conventions and for a, including on endangered species and amongst National Parks authorities.

With regards to the oceans economy, the leaders believe that this collaboration should encompass maritime transport, shipbuilding, offshore oil and exploration, aquaculture, port development, research and technology, conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, marine and coastal tourism, financial and insurance services, as well as coastal industrial zone development.  

In addition to these, the leaders committed to fully implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They believe that its implementation will provide equitable, inclusive, open, all-around innovation-driven and sustainable development. -