Existing UN political missions in Central Asia, West Africa, and Somalia and the new mission in Libya are mandated to work with governments confronted by the specter of rising terrorist and violent extremist threats. Yet, a CGCC study finds that political missions’ approaches to these threats lack strategic coherence. To address these challenges, CGCC and the Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations hosted a meeting for current and incoming members of the Security Council to discuss whether, how, and with what tools the council might address the question of terrorism prevention. Also among guests were senior representatives of the UN Department of Political Affairs, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

Participants raised the question of whether the council should focus primarily on questions of structural prevention, addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, or the more operational aspects of prevention. Among the key issues raised were whether political and field missions had the necessary mandates and resources to address terrorism prevention, how UN entities might exploit their comparative advantages in addressing this issue, the need to make the most of existing assets in an environment of shrinking financial resources, how to address sensitivities regarding the “counterterrorism” label, the role of civil society in long-term peace-building and conflict prevention strategies, and the importance of improving communication flows between and among field offices, UN headquarters, and member states.

Please see the event slideshow below (photos by Elliot Moscowitz).

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