Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: Aviation security
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: Aviation security, 27 September 2017, New York.
Let me join others in welcoming the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Ms. Fang Lui, to the Council and I thank you for your informative briefing. Let me also thank Ambassador Aboulatta for his briefing as Chair of the Counter Terrorism Committee.
We sit in a city that will forever stand testament to the vulnerability of civil aviation to terrorism and to its tragic consequences. Since the beginning of civil aviation, terrorists have found it to be an appealing target. The hijacking of airplanes and the taking of innocent passengers as hostages for ransom or to achieve political gains was, in the last century, one of the most well-known manifestations of terrorism. However, the September 11 attack brought a new and unimaginable manifestation - the use of commercial airliners to commit the mass murder of civilians both in the air and on the ground. Since then, we have increasingly seen attacks on the aviation industry that seek to spread fear and disruption.
At the same time, international civil aviation is an essential. Interconnectivity contributes to the globalisation that has spread prosperity and greater understanding between nations and cultures.
Yet, with this greater interconnectedness comes interdependence. This is particularly true when it comes to aviation security.
Ensuring that aviation is safe and secure for all is truly a common task between nations; we are only as safe as our weakest link.
Aviation security is an area where significant international cooperation is already taking place. We commend ICAO for its role in this work, not least in providing capacity building technical assistance to states. We welcome the improvements in implementation of ICAO's global standards and recommended practices (SARP). We also welcome the ongoing work on the development of a new global aviation security plan, which will support collective action in support of aviation security.
We appreciate the efforts of ICAO, CTC and CTED to work together to find synergies between their respective areas of expertise. We need to support each other in effectively enhancing our aviation security. This includes through operational cooperation and information exchange, not least on information specifically related to terrorist threats to civil aviation. Further capacity capacity-building in this area is essential.
For the European Union, as for so many others, the attacks of September 11, 2001 were a watershed moment. The new reality led to enhanced joint efforts on aviation security within the Union. A common legislative framework is now in place across the EU, incorporating ICAO standards as well as the Convention on International Civil Aviation Annex 17.
This legislative framework covers, inter alia, the screening of passengers, airport security, aircraft security checks, as well as other types of screening. The EU also provides support for capacity-building as part of its development cooperation policy. Partnerships with national and regional authorities play an important role in our efforts to build capacity in this area.
Attacks in recent years, including those on airports in Brussels and Istanbul, have shown that there is no room for complacency. We need to redouble our efforts and constantly improve the level of aviation security. Our work on aviation security must dovetail with our efforts to ensure effective and secure border control, airport security, and cargo security. In addition, more work is needed to address emerging areas of potential vulnerability, including the landside security of airports and how to deal with new cybersecurity threats.
Sweden is committed to working at home and together with our EU partners to ensure that our contribution to the global chain of aviation security is strong.
The aim of aviation security is first and foremost preventative. Today's discussion on aviation security is an important contribution to our collective efforts to counter and mitigate the direct threats terrorism can pose to civil aviation. In the broader context, we also need to ensure continued work, in compliance with international law, to prevent radicalisation to violent extremism and terrorism in the first place, in line with our common UN counter-terrorism strategy as well as the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE). The newly created UN Office of Counter Terrorism will be instrumental in their implementation.
We should not forget that for generations aviation has created a sense of adventure and opportunity for millions. Terrorist threats seek to undermine this sense of wonder, and replace it with fear and distrust. By working together we can ensure that they do not succeed.