Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts
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 (critical infrastructure), February 13 2018, New York.
Let me start by thanking Ambassador Meza-Cuadra for his briefing as Chair of the Counter Terrorism Committee. As we said last year, when adopting resolution 2341: objects of critical infrastructure have long been attractive targets for terrorist attack, with potentially devastating consequences. Attacks on so called soft targets have also been a highly-visible feature of the tactics of ISIL/Daesh. It is for this reason that we welcomed the initiative of the Ukrainian Presidency of the Council to put this item on our agenda last year. It is appropriate that we now take stock of where we are in implementation of resolution 2341.
We live in a period marked by rapid change. Our modern societies are complex, interconnected and technologically advanced; however, the advances that are making our societies better able to meet the needs of our citizens also make them vulnerable.
In interconnected societies and an interconnected world, the knock-on effects of a terrorist attack are hard to predict.
We must recognize the need to build resilience into our thinking on critical infrastructure. In Sweden, the protection of critical infrastructure is based around two pillars. Firstly, to improve awareness, build resilience and prevent, respond to, and recover from incidents and crisis. And second, to increase cooperation, including public-private, as well as international collaboration.
Connected societies require connected system-wide perspectives when it comes to the protection of critical infrastructure. The sheer range of actors alone necessitates robust legislation and platforms for cooperation. The Swedish Civil Contingency Agency (MSB) has developed an Action Plan for the Protection of Vital Societal Functions & Critical Infrastructure, with the goal to raise awareness, build resilience and prevent attacks, as well as to increase cooperation among relevant stakeholders.
We also need to ensure day to day cooperation between different entities with a responsibility for vital societal functions. In Sweden, the Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Council gathers over a dozen national agencies from a wide range of areas with the aim of jointly increasing our national capacity to counter terrorism.
Exercises and scenario training are one important way of ensuring effective coordination across different agencies. We are currently conducting a large-scale multi-sectoral cooperation exercise to clearly identify areas of responsibility, reporting lines and processes for coordination in the event of a civil crisis.
Determining what constitutes critical infrastructure is a national matter, but it cannot be treated in isolation. Interconnectedness – across borders, across jurisdictions, across systems, across networks – is a fact of life. The ongoing threat from terrorism underlines the need to continue the interaction between counter-terrorism actors and those working on crisis management. Within the United Nations, CTED, UNOCT and the members of the CTITF play important roles in these efforts. CTED's country visits are an important tool to help member states address these issues together – and to inform capacity building needs.
In addition, it is important to deepen dialogue with international organisations such as International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Organisation for the Prohibition of chemical Weapons (OPCW), INTERPOL, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the World Customs Organization, and others, whose work is important to the maintenance of international critical infrastructure.
The approach of the European Union may offer some examples of how to approach this issue from a regional perspective. The European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection provides a framework for cooperation. It establishes a procedure for identifying and designating European Critical Infrastructures (ECI) and a common approach for assessing the need to improve their protection. The tools and assessment within the European Programme could be duplicated in other sectors and regions.
Sweden is also engaged in international cooperation to reduce the threat of terrorists gaining access to weapons and materials of mass destruction, in coordination with other members, including through the G7 Global Partnership and other multilateral initiatives.
In the field of nuclear security, Sweden and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, has implemented numerous projects since 1992 in order to secure nuclear power plants and other facilities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that store and use nuclear and radioactive materials.
Terrorist attacks are by definition unpredictable. The increasingly decentralised nature of the terrorist threat, and the increased incidence of attacks using simple means that create widespread disruption, including of critical infrastructure, calls for increased vigilance, preparedness and cooperation.