20 September 2023
20 SEPTEMBER 2023, NEW YORK| The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) – a platform for multilateral engagement to prevent and counter terrorism – held its twice yearly Coordinating Committee and annual Ministerial meetings on 18 and 20 September. The Forum’s Co-Chairs, Egypt, and the European Union, welcomed Kenya and Kuwait as new GCTF members. This first ever expansion of the Forum reflects the commitment to increasing multilateral cooperation and strengthening regional counterterrorism efforts in Africa and the Middle East. Ministers exchanged views on national experiences on the rehabilitation and reintegration of former terrorists. Over the course of the three days, over 150 Ministers, senior counterterrorism and criminal justice officials, and practitioners from more than thirty countries and civil society came together to discuss the current global terrorism threats and responses.
H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs Egypt, and H.E. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as Co-Chairs, reiterated their joint vision for a responsive approach to the ever-changing counterterrorism landscape, as they welcomed Kenya and Kuwait as new members of to the Forum. By expanding its membership, the GCTF strives to reinforce its ability to further promote global security.
“We are honored to Co-Chair, along with the European Union, the GCTF’s Ministerial Meeting and Coordination Committee Meeting, taking place on the margins of the UN General Assembly High Level segment. Tens of thousands of people worldwide lose their lives, annually, to heinous acts of terrorism. Despite global efforts, terrorist threats continue unabated, particularly in Africa, where they are a major cause of destabilization. Terrorism also undermines development gains achieved over decades and adversely affects the enjoyment of all human rights. Against these challenges, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to countering terrorism, defeating terrorist narratives and ideologies, supporting, and protecting victims of terrorism, and bolstering the international community’s response. Multilateral platforms, such as the GCTF, are indispensable to consolidate our efforts and enhance the global responsiveness to ever-evolving terrorist threats. The admission of Kenya and Kuwait as two new Members – the first-ever expansion of the GCTF - brings valuable expertise and insight to the Forum, further enhancing its effectiveness at the global and regional levels,” said H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt.
H.E. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said, “The incorporation of Kenya and Kuwait makes the Forum more inclusive and representative. This is exactly what we need - a more dynamic, more inclusive and more action-oriented Forum. Terrorists and violent extremists exploit provocative acts in our societies and acts of intolerance. Diversity and tolerance are our best tools to push back. Rehabilitation and reintegration of former terrorist fighters and violent extremists is crucial to prevent future acts of violence. This Forum provides an opportunity for sharing best practices and lessons learnt. Civil society organizations and grassroot initiatives also play a vital role in facilitating and sustaining the process of reintegration within the community. We must stand united and firm against all who seek to damage and divide our societies.”
Ministers shared national experiences and best practices on rehabilitation and reintegration of former terrorists. They discussed how lessons learned from ongoing rehabilitation and reintegration efforts could be integrated into the broader work of the GCTF and driven by the three Institutions closely associated with the GCTF – the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), Hedayah, and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) – collectively known as the GCTF-Inspired Institutions. By fostering whole-of-society, multi-stakeholder collaboration, a wide range of resources and expertise can be leveraged to innovate and enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of rehabilitation efforts. Linked also to prevention, de-radicalization, and criminal justice efforts to tackle terrorism, these efforts are critical to allowing the reintegration of former terrorists into peaceful society.
During the meeting of the Coordinating Committee, the Co-Chairs outlined the progress made towards the GCTF strategic vision (2023-2025), in particular its action-oriented and dynamic approach. In line with this ambition, local leaders at the frontline of the fight against terrorism shared their experience in driving positive change at the local level, highlighting the strength of local leadership in addressing grievances and fostering resilience within communities. The Coordinating Committee also endorsed two related operational documents developed by the Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, co-chaired by Australia and Indonesia – the GCTF National-Local Cooperation Toolkit and the GCTF Framework Document for Funding and Enabling Community-Level P/CVE – which will be important in promoting the work of local leaders in countering and preventing violent extremism (P/CVE). The GCTF members will continue to engage in this endeavor. The Co-Chairs emphasized the value and benefits of inviting new members to revitalize the forum. By joining the GCTF, they bring invaluable experience, fostering deeper collaboration and knowledge-sharing among the Forum’s Members as well as wider communities.
On the margins of the high-level meetings, side events were held, with a focus on the current, new, and emerging global threats. In a Co-Chair’s side event, in collaboration with the three Inspired Institutions, inspiring female practitioners provided their stories and insights, underscoring the indispensable role of women as drivers of peace and innovation. The Co-Chairs will reinforce the work developed by the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group Co-Chairs Australia and Indonesia on mainstreaming gender in prevention and CVE, promoting a greater role for women across counterterrorism policies.
Discussions and activities involved members, practitioners, and the wider counterterrorism stakeholders from various regions, particularly Africa where the threat of terrorism is constantly on the rise. The inclusion of all stakeholders provides invaluable insights into the complex nature of the terrorism threat.
The GCTF Co-Chairs Egypt and the European Union, continue to emphasize their commitment to working with the GCTF members to implement a comprehensive and global approach that addresses the root causes of terrorism and provides adequate – and operational – responses to threats on the ground. They underline the importance of a deepened engagement with other actors in delivering on GCTF priorities and the Co-Chairs’ vision, in particular the three GCTF Inspired Institutions and in close partnership with the UN Global Coordination Compact.
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