The nexus between terrorism and organized crime took center stage during a meeting of the United Nations’ (UN’s) Security Council last week, with experts raising fresh concerns over opportunistic alliances emerging among belligerents who share a hostility towards national authorities and seek to exploit vulnerabilities created by the COVID-19 crisis. Speaking about a recently-released UN report, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Ghada Waly said many member states reported terrorists and organized criminals cooperate on the basis of shared territory or mutual interest, often drawing on personal connections forged in prisons. She also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is raising a new set of challenges for national authorities, as criminals seek to exploit vulnerabilities created by lockdowns and shifting travel patterns. To combat these issues, Waly explained that member states had identified strengthening border security - in particular by analyzing flight passenger data – and cross-border cooperation as priorities. Reflecting on Waly’s comments, Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, referenced some of the discussions and takeaways from the UN’s 2020 Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week that was held from July 6 to 10 (WaterISAC discussed this event in its July 7 Security and Resilience Update). “Terrorists are exploiting the significant disruption and economic hardships caused by COVID-19 to spread fear, hate and division and radicalize and recruit new followers”, Voronkov emphasized. “Collective action and international cooperation are needed now more than ever,” he added. Read the article at the UN.