Remarks by USG Miguel Moratinos,
High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations,
at the 9th UN Global Global Counter-terrorism Coordination
Compact Committee Meeting:“The Changing Counter-Terrorism Landscape
& Evidence-Based/Data Centric Response to Threats”
25 January 2023, UNHQ – Room 8
Your Excellency, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov
Under-Secretary-General , UN office of Counter-Terrorism
Thank you for inviting me to this meeting.
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, dear Colleagues,
I will be brief in focusing my intervention on my reflection on the changing counter-terrorism landscape as UNAOC programmatic activities in relation to the Counter-Terrorism Compact are relayed through the quarterly briefings to member states.
As you all recall, The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was launched in 2005 to address the root causes of violent extremism conducive to terrorism following the 9/11 attacks and the chain of terrorist attacks that followed in Madrid, London, Bali. At the time, the general approach was pivoting around East versus West.
This focus somehow shifted over the past years with the rapidly growing violent extremism and the mainstreaming and normalization of extremist ideologies and radical discourse.
Houses of Worship and ethnic communities were targeted with a frequency that we have not seen before. Far-right extremism has become the fastest growing threat around the world. Hardly one week goes by without a violent incident or a terrorist attack on a religious site or on individuals because of their religion, belief, race or gender.
The super-sonic proliferation of digital platforms and advanced technologies enabled the rise and broadened the outreach of these dangerous ideologies.
All these, may divert our efforts from addressing and understanding the root causes of why these extremist ideologies won the hearts and minds of those who were recruited . The root causes of why we lost the battle of ideas.
This is where the work of the Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact comes into play.
The programs and initiatives that complement security governance strategies.
We all know too well by now that security measures are essential but they are not enough. Because ideology has no borders.
In his remarks to this gathering in June 2022, the Secretary-General urged us to continue to support member states in their counter-terrorism efforts including assisting in building institutions that are people-centered and grounded in human rights and rule of law.
In this context, UNAOC programming activities and initiatives pivots around building prevention models within communities with focus on youth (women and men) who are targeted for recruitment by extremist groups.
In our efforts, faith actors, civil society and the corporate sector are our essential partners.
Our people-centered approach is based on the notion of primary prevention.
This means developing critical thinking skills so that these communities are equipped with the mindset that enables them recognize disinformation and conspiracy theories and resist the outreach of the extremist groups.
Through modest seed-funding , mentoring programs and providing a broad and safe space for a meaningful dialogue, we enable faith actors and grassroots to engage with their communities on peace-building, promotion of diversity, mutual respect and human rights.
Recognizing the growing threat of violent extremism and terrorism in Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa, we are working on setting-up a footprint in this region.
Concluding, we need to invest and mobilize more efforts in “primary prevention” and addressing the root causes of violent extremism conducive to terrorism.
I thank you.