The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita, co-chaired, with his Canadian counterpart, Melanie Joly, the work of the 12th ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which took place on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, in New York.
In his opening remarks, Nasser Bourita affirmed that the evolution of the international security landscape should not lead to the neglect of shared responsibility in the fight against terrorism.
In this regard, the minister highlighted the importance of “true multilateralism”, expressing Morocco’s conviction that such a spirit and commitment are essential for the next decade, particularly in a context where the threat posed by terrorist groups remains a priority.
He also indicated that the GCTF meeting is an opportunity to reflect on the achievements and effectiveness of the Forum during its first decade, recalling that efforts have been focused in particular on reducing the vulnerability of people to terrorism, through prevention and the effective fight against recruitment and incitement to terrorism.
Presenting the progress made by the Forum under the Moroccan-Canadian co-presidency, Nasser Bourita underlined the efforts made (during the first decade, editor’s note) to “maintain the apolitical and consensual nature of the Forum”, now oriented towards pragmatism and action to strengthen international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, the Minister noted.
He noted that the work of the Forum draws from the relevant existing international legal framework, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
“We have adopted an innovative recipe that combines political leadership with the expertise of practitioners in a state-centric process while expanding our engagement with different partners in the United Nations system and GCTF-inspired institutions and non-governmental organizations”, continued Nasser Bourita during this meeting held on the sidelines of the 77e session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Building on this approach, the GCTF has succeeded in building consensus on emerging topics, paving the way for other international organizations to develop the standards needed to structure the actions of the international community to address critical challenges, it said. he said, adding that the Forum has done “remarkable” work through a proactive approach to foreign terrorist fighters, border security management, new information and communication technologies, combating the financing of terrorism while preserving civic space.
For the Minister, these achievements, which are based on commitment, meaningful contribution and pioneering leadership, are the result of the preservation of the core values of the GCTF as enshrined in the framework documents of the Forum.
“The GCTF has undoubtedly become a central player in the international architecture for the prevention and fight against terrorism and violent extremism”, further noted Nasser Bourita, welcoming the “constructive and solid” partnership between the United Nations stakeholders and the Forum.
He also acknowledged that on the eve of a new mandate cycle both at the level of the Forum and its working groups, the fight “is unfortunately not yet over”.
“Terrorists continue to adapt their tactics to redeploy, seeking safe havens, nurturing territorial ambitions and seeking new recruits among vulnerable individuals and communities In this context, we must uphold the identity and core values of the GCTF because this Forum is more relevant and necessary than ever”, he insisted, stressing that during its various co-presidencies, Morocco has committed itself to placing the GCTF, its effectiveness and its contribution to a safer world and more secure above any narrow interests.
And to conclude that during the co-presidency with Canada, the gaze was focused on the future despite the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and “we have succeeded, with the work of all the members, in charting a significant path for the GCTF for the next 10 years with the adoption of the Strategy Vision for the next decade”.
Launched in 2011, the GCTF is a platform co-chaired by Morocco since 2016. It is composed of 30 members (29 countries + the European Union) and cooperates closely with many international, regional and sub-regional organizations, including the ‘UN.
Its structure revolves around five working groups dealing with the fight against violent extremism, foreign terrorist fighters, criminal justice and the rule of law, capacity building in West Africa and the strengthening of capacities in East Africa. Its activities regularly bring together decision-makers and experts in the areas of counter-terrorism.