Sri Lanka’s Observations delivered by
Major General Suresh Sallay, Director / State Intelligence Service
Third United Nations High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism
19 – 20 June 2023
Session III: Global Threat Landscape: Assessment of Current and Emerging
Trends (20 June)
Thank you for giving me the floor.
As I take the floor for the first time, I would like to thank the UN Office of Counter Terrorism for the convening of the third UN High Level Conference on Counter Terrorism, and for its overall work. I am confident that this conference will build on the outcomes of the previous High-Level Conferences to combat the evolving threat to peace and security of all peoples, and contribute towards better understanding and an effective, multilateral response.
The world we live in is evolving rapidly, and with it, many security challenges that shape international and domestic affairs in every nation. The threats to peace and stability of the globe have been changing throughout history, following technological and sociological developments. These threats could be broadly categorized into five key categories, namely geopolitical, economic, environmental, societal, and technological.
Geopolitical and regional conflicts seriously threaten international security. The increasing tensions between powerful countries are likely to lead to more frequent conflicts in various regions, and with it the rise of non-state actors who exploit the fragile environment created.
Broader Security challenges
In analyzing the modern-day security challenges, transnational organized crimes, terrorism and extremism, and its interrelations and connectivity to evolving technologies have seriously challenged international security.
Terrorism and extremism
Terrorism has emerged as one of the greatest challenges to international security in the 21st century, undermining stability, affecting social trust and disrupting peace across the globe. We have witnessed horrific acts of violence that affect innocent lives and communities.
The scourge of drugs and organized crimes continue to plague societies worldwide. Criminal networks profit from illicit activities, perpetuating violence, corruption, and instability. We must acknowledge the interrelated nature of these criminal enterprises, which span multiple borders and jurisdictions.
The spread of technological advancements has challenged the capacities of traditional security apparatuses and posed serious threats to domestic and international security.
The rise of cyber threats presents an alarming challenge in the digital age. Our reliance on technology has opened new avenues for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities in our systems.
Artificial intelligence, disruptive technologies, and the spread of misinformation constitute new areas with unexpected outcomes in terms of emerging threats.
A number of attacks conducted by various extremist terrorist entities in the recent past, including in Sri Lanka, have demonstrated the power of social media and digital platforms in radicalization, extremism, and terrorism, posing serious threats to international security.
We have seen instances of the use of sophisticated software in using social networks to impact the cognition of populations, politicians, and other target groups, to influence perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs, thereby undermining trust in governments. This also poses a serious challenge to democratically elected governments and governance, in particular, fighting against terrorism and non-state actors who resort to violence.
We are fast approaching a time when these rising threats may create an even more volatile environment, and in light of these challenges, it is clear that our attention must remain unwavering to mitigate them.
It is evident that no nation can effectively confront these challenges in isolation, and it is imperative to enhance intelligence capabilities and networks, and fostering security cooperation among nations, that we can engage in collective efforts to overcome these threats. Enhanced institutional cooperation along through reinvigorated multilateralism is the need of the hour.
In this regard, Sri Lanka is committed to cooperate with the UNOCT and strengthen international counter terrorism cooperation. Sri Lanka will also work to give practical expression to the objectives of the revised UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which serves as a rallying call to action, and presents a common strategic framework to fight terrorism and protect individual rights.
We remain an active participant in global efforts to counter terrorism. While supporting the right to information, and the vital role played by these networks in connecting peoples, it is also imperative to regulate the use of social media platforms by extremist elements in furtherance of their objectives.
In effecting such cooperation, it is imperative that our interactions and collaborations are guided by principles of mutual respect, understanding, and shared interests.
Thank you. (ENDS)