UNHQ – June 11, 2014
Excellencies, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honor to chair today’s first panel on Countering the Appeal of Terrorism.
Since the landmark adoption of the Global Strategy in 2006—and I use the word “landmark” because this was the first time that all Member States agreed to a common strategic vision and approach in the fight against terrorism—three biennial reviews of strategy have taken place. Our discussion today occasions the Fourth Review of the Global Strategy. This brings up good memories of the 66th session of the UNGA which I led and where we conducted the Third Review of the Strategy.
The United Nations, through its Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force framework, has been playing a strong role, either directly or indirectly, in all of the areas that comprise the Global Strategy.
The CTITF Office and all its 34 entities work in the field of international peace and security, in economic and social development, in human rights and the rule of law, and in providing technical and capacity-building assistance in many areas related to addressing conditions conducive to terrorism. We are encouraged by this work of the CTITF entities, and particularly of the coordination and coherence role of the CTITF Office, in providing much needed assistance on the ground, where it matters the most.
I would like to emphasize here that, as a member of CTITF and with the strong working relationship we have with CTITF, the organization I lead, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, has been participating in all relevant meetings, retreats, and workshops that the Taskforce has organized.
Notably, the report of the Secretary-General on the “Activities of the United Nations System in implementing the Global Counterterrorism Strategy” highlights the need to address the factors that create discontent and tension within and between societies and which in turn make the resort to terrorism attractive and a substitute for dialogue. Countering the appeal of terrorism is addressed in Pillar 1 of the global strategy, as many of you know.
It is important to underscore here that while law enforcement as a means of combating terrorism continues to remain a priority, long-term success depends largely on addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. This specifically means work in the area of preventing violent extremism and preventing radicalization.
The organization I represent, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, has a long record, through its diverse civil society, youth, and media engagement activities, of working with the grassroots around the world. Much of this work is dedicated to creating viable alternatives to radicalization.
Often our work in this area consists of creating avenues of empowerment for marginalized communities, and especially young people. We are also constantly looking for ways to improve our monitoring and evaluation of such activities so that we may better assess their impact and adjust them accordingly.
Some of our activities to serve the purpose of pillar one, include:
- The Alliance’s Fellowship Program which brings together emerging leaders from the Arab world and the West to travel to each others’ regions to exchange ideas with key decision makers;
- The Intercultural Innovation Award which in partnership with BMW Group identifies and supports grassroots initiatives, alleviating identity-based tensions and conflicts;
- The Entrepreneurs for Social Change (E4SC) Program that convenes aspiring young social entrepreneurs from the Euro-Mediterranean region.
These are examples of people from different communities coming together to strengthen ties with one another by addressing shared challenges. Our view is that the best way to address discontent and poor distribution of power or resources is by coming together, listening closely, and then acting in harmony with marginalized communities.
Many such initiatives will be highlighted and discussed at greater length at the UNAOC’s upcoming 6th Global Forum in Bali – Indonesia, from August 28-30. I invite you to visit the Alliance’s website to learn more about this event. We anticipate a very diverse gathering of all the stakeholders that are relevant to our work: from civil society and youth groups to global media; from high-level government representatives to members of the private sector and foundations. I should add here, that we are honored that the SG will also attend along with ministers of member states and even heads of state and government.
That said, I am honored to introduce my panelists.
Sharing the stage with me today are the Honorable Jerome Bougouma, Minister of Territorial Administration, Security, and Decentralization in Burkina Faso; the Honorable Gonzalo de Benito, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Spain; Ambassador Stephan Husy, Coordinator for International Counter Terrorism from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland; and our very own Jehangir Khan, Director of the “CTITF” Counter Terrorism Implementation Taskforce.
Gentlemen, the four questions we would like to begin our discussion with today are as follows:
What experiences and lessons learned can contribute to and promote a culture of dialogue and understanding amongst peoples?
What approaches have been employed as a means of counter narratives to terrorism?
What has been the experience and lessons learned from programmes on dis-engagement, re-habilitation, re-integration and de-radicalization?
How best can national, regional and international counter-terrorism efforts be integrated on the basis of the comprehensive structural framework provided by the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy?
I now call upon His Excellency Jerome Bougouma, Minister of Territorial Administration and Security of Burkina Faso, to deliver his remarks.