Washington, DC - The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) continues to provide an effective, action-oriented platform for mobilizing expertise and resources to identify and address critical civilian counterterrorism (CT) needs.
Over the past four years, the GCTF has developed a series of good practices documents on a range of CT issues and has mobilized resources to support national and regional efforts to address the Forum’s strategic priorities: countering violent extremism (CVE) and strengthening civilian institutions that deal with terrorism. The GCTF also contributes to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Forum’s framework documents, which were drafted to be globally applicable by any interested state, are now helping to drive the global civilian CT capacity-building agenda. In addition, the GCTF has served as a useful platform for developing practical initiatives to address topical, but sensitive CT issues. Perhaps most significant, the GCTF has inspired the creation of three independent institutions that are helping to strengthen the international CT and CVE architecture: (1) Hedayah (Abu Dhabi), the first-ever international center of excellence on CVE; (2) the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (Valletta), a center for training justice sector officials on how to prevent and respond to terrorism and related transnational criminal activity while respecting human rights; and (3) the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (Geneva), a public-private global fund that will provide grants to community-based organizations working to counter violent extremism at the local level.
Re-emphasizing the Forum’s commitment to an action-oriented, rule of law-based approach to addressing the threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism, the September 2015 Ministerial Plenary will include a number of concrete and practical deliverables.
I. Launch of a Cross-Working Group Initiative to Address the Full Life Cycle of Radicalization to Violence
The United States and Turkey will announce the launch of a new cross-working group initiative to expand on existing GCTF good practices and develop additional tools needed to address the full life cycle of radicalization to violence. The effort is designed not only to equip members to deal with emerging threats, but also to reinforce some of the key elements of the White House CVE Summit Process, with the GCTF taking on relevant pieces of the CVE Summit agenda. In launching this initiative, the GCTF working groups will incorporate a number of GCTF activities, including efforts related to juvenile justice, prison de-radicalization and reintegration, and “whole of society” approaches to CVE, taking advantage, as appropriate, of the new networks (i.e., research, civil society, and cities) being launched as part of the CVE Summit process. The six working groups will also build on UNSCR 2178, other relevant UNSCRs, and existing GCTF good practices (e.g., the Rabat, Ankara, Rome, and The Hague-Marrakech memoranda). Together, these elements will ensure development of an up-to-date and comprehensive set of complementary tools and practices for addressing the full life cycle of radicalization to violence, including both home-grown violent extremists and potential and returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTF).
II. Announcement of the Establishment of a GCTF-Sponsored International Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism Capacity-Building Clearinghouse Mechanism
Consistent with the GCTF’s founding vision to include a civilian-focused capacity-building coordination and clearinghouse role for the Forum, the United States and Turkey will announce the launch of a two-year pilot program for a GCTF-sponsored International Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism Capacity-Building Clearinghouse Mechanism (ICCM). The ICCM will develop and manage an up-to-date database of recent and ongoing counterterrorism and CVE capacity-building assistance, identify gaps in programming, de-conflict overlapping programs, and mobilize and coordinate donor resources by making non-binding recommendations for specific donors and/or implementers. The ICCM’s overarching objective will be to enhance global efforts to support the implementation of GCTF good practices, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the wider UN CT and CVE framework. In particular, the ICCM will seek to address capacity gaps related to the implementation of relevant UNSCRs, primarily 1373 and 2178, as well as the UN’s FTF Capacity Building Implementation Plan, currently in development by the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). It will also address capacity gaps relevant to the White House CVE Summit Action Agenda. Given that the World Bank and other major non-GCTF donors are increasingly active in this space, the ICCM will attempt to map the work of such organizations in order to provide as comprehensive a picture as possible. The ICCM will initially focus on three high-priority pilot countries that face a current terrorist threat, have significant donor engagement on CT and CVE, and are willing and able to serve in this capacity.
III. Adoption of GCTF Framework Documents
The Addendum to the Algiers Memorandum on the Effective Implementation of Certain Good Practices Aimed at Preventing Kidnappings by Terrorists elaborates specific recommendations to assist interested States with the effective implementation of the Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists, in particular, those good practices that are relevant to the prevention of kidnapping for ransom (KFR). In addition to fostering increasingly effective government action to prevent KFR, GCTF members concluded that recommendations designed to further the efforts of companies, non-governmental organizations, and individuals to help prevent KFR are also necessary. Accordingly, the Addendum also includes recommendations that can inform and support government outreach programs under Algiers Memorandum Good Practices 14 and 15.
The Good Practices on Women and Countering Violent Extremism, developed in partnership with the OSCE, elaborates a set of non-binding good practices addressing: (1) general good practices on women and gender in a CVE context; (2) countering women and girls’ involvement in violent extremism and terrorism; (3) advancing women and girls’ roles in CVE; and (4) women and girls as victims of violent extremism and terrorism. The Good Practices complement the GCTF’s Ankara Memorandum on Good Practices for a Multi-Sectoral Approach to Countering Violent Extremism, the Good Practices on Community Engagement and Community-Oriented Policing as Tools to Counter Violent Extremism, and the Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Good Practices for Education and Countering Violent Extremism.
IV. Announcement of an Initiative on Juvenile Justice
Switzerland, in collaboration with the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), will announce the launch of an initiative on juvenile justice in a counterterrorism context under the auspices of the Criminal Justice Sector and Rule of Law (CJ-ROL) Working Group. Some of the issues to be considered include: (1) interaction between counterterrorism law, human rights law, and international humanitarian law, with regard to children and juveniles as offenders in terrorism-related acts; (2) the role of juvenile justice in CVE; (3) detention, alternative measures to deprivation of liberty, diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration (restorative justice); and (4) counterterrorism proceedings, including the application of military justice systems, and juvenile justice.
V. Announcement of Joint Initiative with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the Role of Religious Education in Fostering Peace and Countering Violence
Building on the Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Good Practices for Education and Countering Violent Extremism, the United States will announce that the GCTF, under the auspices of the CVE Working Group, is partnering with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) on an initiative on the role of religious education institutions in promoting peace and preventing violent extremism. The first workshop in the initiative will focus on the variety of types of religious instruction and institutions, the different types of pedagogies utilized, and areas in which these institutions can enhance educational cultures to counter violent extremism, in light of CVE trends and good practices.
VI. Other GCTF Documents
The Abu Dhabi Plan of Action for Education and Countering Violent Extremism serves as a practical tool for implementing the Abu Dhabi Memorandum for Good Practices on Education and Countering Violent Extremism, adopted by the GCTF in September 2014. The Plan of Action describes programming and policy that is currently being led, or could be led or sponsored, by GCTF members and other relevant stakeholders. These examples of existing programs are intended to serve as a model for future program development.
The Catalogue of FTF-related Countering Violent Extremism and Returnee Programs is designed as a living document of FTF-related CVE and returnee programs that can serve as a resource for interested States for implementation of Sections A, B, and D of The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon, focusing on detecting and intervening against violent extremism, recruitment and facilitation, and return. Upon completion of the initial document, the GCTF will partner with Hedayah to manage the catalogue, update it as appropriate, and facilitate engagement by interested States.