The Global Counter Terrorism Forum



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu co-chaired the Fifth Ministerial Plenary of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), an action-oriented platform committed to strengthening international cooperation and mobilizing expertise and resources to address civilian-focused counterterrorism priorities.  

Ministers and other senior officials from the Forum's 30 members (29 countries and the European Union) and the United Nations underscored the practical and strategic nature of the GCTF and highlighted the Forum's role in addressing three issues of increasing concern: the growing "foreign terrorist fighter" (FTF) phenomenon; the increasing use of kidnapping for ransom (KFR) by terrorist groups; and the growth of violent extremism.  Throughout the discussion, members welcomed the ongoing close cooperation between the GCTF and the United Nations and encouraged it to be further strengthened.  In addition, they stressed the Forum's critical role in facilitating cooperation and collaboration among the international community in mounting a united response to ISIL and other terrorist groups posing a common threat to regional and global security. 

Foreign Terrorist Fighters:  During the meeting, members adopted the first ever international good practices on FTFs, The Hague – Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the "Foreign Terrorist Fighters" (FTF) Phenomenon.  The good practices are intended to inform and guide interested governments as they develop comprehensive policies, programs, and approaches to address the FTF phenomenon. Members highlighted the impact that the good practices have had in shaping the FTF resolution adopted at the UN Security Council Summit on 24 September (UNSCR 2178). Members also agreed to establish a GCTF Working Group – to be co-chaired by Morocco and The Netherlands – dedicated to addressing the FTF challenge, with a particular focus on the implementation of the GCTF's FTF good practices and helping to coordinate the growing number of efforts at the national, regional and international levels to stem the flow of FTFs. A number of members stepped forward to announce the practical steps being taken to address the phenomenon, including by providing more than $50 million to support capacity-building efforts in partner countries.  

Kidnapping for Ransom:  Members highlighted further efforts to implement the GCTF Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices for Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists, including by developing a set of highly interactive training modules that will be made available to interested partners.  Algeria, Canada, and the U.S. also announced a series of upcoming training workshops, which will leverage these new modules, focused on the implementation of the Algiers Memorandum across North and West Africa.

Countering Violent Extremism:  Members welcomed the progress on the GCTF-inspired institutions, which now exist as independent legal entities, including the two focused on countering violent extremism (CVE):  the Abu Dhabi-based Hedayah, an international center for CVE training, dialogue, and research, and the Geneva-based Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), the first-ever public-private multilateral financing mechanism to provide community-based organizations local CVE grants.  Members announced more than $20 million in pledges and contributions to support these new institutions.

New GCTF Framework Documents:  In addition to the GCTF's FTF good practices, members endorsed three additional framework documents:  the Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Good Practices for Education and Countering Violent Extremism, which highlights the importance of education as a tool to counter violent extremism, and two good practice documents focused on building international criminal justice and rule of law capacity,  The Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offenses and the Recommendations for Using and Protecting Intelligence Information in Rule of Law-Based, Criminal Justice Sector-Led Investigations and Prosecutions.  Members emphasized the need to intensify focus on the implementation of these and other GCTF framework documents in the coming year.

To learn more about the GCTF and the framework documents endorsed at the Fifth Ministerial Plenary, click on the following links.

►Fourth Ministerial, 27 September 2013, New York

Third Ministerial, 14 December 2012, Abu Dhabi

►Second Ministerial, 7 June 2012, Istanbul

►Launch Event, 22 September 2011, New York

Focus Area
Framework Documents

The GCTF has adopted several non-exhaustive, legally non-binding documents focused on highlighting key counterterrorism themes that are flexible enough to be amended and adapted for regional or national use.  These doucments provide a framework on which subsequent trainings, workshops, and seminars can be developed for GCTF members, non-members and partners.