Press Release: 23rd Global Counterterrorism Forum Coordinating Committee Meeting Hosted by New Member Kenya

Press Release: 23rd Global Counterterrorism Forum Coordinating Committee Meeting Hosted by New Member Kenya

29 February 2024

29 FEBRUARY 2024, NAIROBI | The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) – a platform for multilateral engagement to prevent and counter terrorism – held its 23rd Coordinating Committee Meeting on 29 February in Nairobi, Kenya. Egypt and the EU, remaining at the helm of the Forum for a further two years until 2026, restated their strong commitment to supporting African-led efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism, partnering and engaging with African states, regional organizations and those closest to the most vulnerable communities. The event was held under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Monica Juma, National Security Advisor to the President of the Republic of Kenya. Senior counterterrorism and criminal justice officials, civil society practitioners and leading think-tanks, along with key partners, international organizations, and the GCTF-Inspired Institutions, joined the 32 GCTF Members to explore opportunities for joint action to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism.

The 23rd Coordinating Committee Meeting, co-chaired by the EU and Egypt, focused on enhancing collaborative action to deter the threat of terrorism. Kenya, new GCTF member and host, underlined the importance of proactive action and its intent to promote collaboration of the Eastern Africa region with the Forum. The EU and Egypt reiterated their strong commitment to supporting African-led efforts to combat terrorism and ideologies that underlie it, spotlighting the importance of the partnerships with African states, regional organizations and diverse stakeholders representing the interests – and addressing the concerns – of vulnerable communities.

Member States renewed the EU and Egypt  Co-Chairs’ tenure by two more years. Committing to continue delivering on their Strategic Priorities, the Co-Chairs will seek to maintain the Forum’s niche role in multilateral counterterrorism, as an agile and dynamic platform that is responsive to the needs of those most impacted by terrorism and its consequences.

The EU will continue in its role at the helm of the GCTF for two more years in partnership with Egypt. We will build on the strides we have collectively made with the GCTF Members to deliver on our priorities and commitment towards greater inclusivity: in our partnerships as well as in diverse stakeholder participation, including civil society, and in promoting gender-sensitivity and equity throughout our work. We will continue our efforts to support African partners tackle – and to help make their populations resilient to – terrorism, violent extremism and their ideologies,” Nadia Costantini, European External Action Service Special Envoy for Counterterrorism, GCTF Co-Chair.

The Members co-chairing the GCTF’s five working groups will continue their mandates from 2024 to 2026. The two newly admitted GCTF Members Kenya and Kuwait were praised by the membership for their robust engagement in assuming the leadership of the East Africa Capacity-Building Working Group and carrying through the Forum’s support to African-owned solutions to countering terrorism on the African continent.

At the outset of a new term for our Co-Chairmanship of the forum, we celebrate the revival of the East Africa Working Group after the acclamation of both Kenya and Kuwait, a milestone that motivates us to continue striving towards realizing our Strategic Priorities for the Forum for 2023-2025, in partnership with the EU. Promotion of the role of women and streamlining the actual needs of local populations through the GCTF outputs and toolkits remain pillars of our priorities,” Ambassador Walid Elfiky, Director of Counter Terrorism Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, GCTF Co-Chair.

During the meeting, Members focused on the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of former terrorists, guided by first-hand experts who recommended ways to support effective and tailored processes. 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) – have the expertise and networks to support this effort globally.

A series of events preceding the Coordinating Committee Meeting demonstrated the Forum’s convening power, its growing inclusivity and network, and its expanding expertise. The GCTF consulted civil society practitioners and engaged senior counterterrorism representatives from East, South, and Central Africa to kick-start collaboration to tackle the escalating regional threat. The West Africa Working Group convened the experts from the region. The EU’s Counterterrorism Platform for Human Rights Engagement, CT PHARE, run by the IIJ, gathered representatives from Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and South-East Asia, civil society, practitioners and human rights experts over the course of two days, to engage on the EU-led “Oversight and Accountability Initiative” that will formulate good practices to develop independent, effective mechanisms to oversee the lawful use of powers, prevent the misuse of authority, and build trust in law enforcement for sustainable and successful counterterrorism. And the Countering Violent Extremism Working Group met in plenary, reflecting on the great strides made in developing and operationalizing GCTF Framework Documents that respond to emerging trends in the global threat of terrorism.

GCTF Members Kenya and Germany also launched a new Initiative on the Nexus between Climate Change and Violent Extremism conducive to terrorism, with the support of GCERF, aiming to address and prevent climate change-related drivers to radicalization and violent extremism conducive to terrorism.

“Kenya is pleased to host this timely and important event. The Global Counterterrorism Forum has, for over a decade, led global efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism. This unique forum accords practitioners from across the world, the opportunity to develop and share effective interventions to respond to the complex dynamics and widespread threat of terrorism and violent extremism,” Dr. Rosalind Nyawira, Director of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Kenya.

The GCTF Co-Chairs, the EU and Egypt, reaffirmed their commitment to working with the GCTF Members, the three GCTF-Inspired Institutions, and in close partnership with the United Nations Global Coordination Compact and partners around the world to implement comprehensive approaches to address root causes of terrorism and provide operational responses to threats on the ground.