On 10 March 2021, the Global Center hosted a high-level event inviting civil society representatives to share reflections on the 2021 report of the Secretary-General on the Activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the seventh review of the Strategy. The event served as a formal opportunity for member state and UN representatives to hear directly from a wide range of civil society actors as part of the review process and complimented the informal, member states-only briefing organized by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) held on Friday the 5th of March.

The event was opened by the Co-Facilitators of the seventh review of the Strategy, their Excellencies the Permanent Representatives of Oman and Spain, Ambassadors Mohamed Al-Hassan and Agustín Santos Maraver in which they welcomed the initiative and highlighted the role of civil society in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism, and the importance of collaborating with civil society. They also outlined what they hope to achieve during the review process. The panel of civil society discussants consisted of Ms. Sarah Cliffe, Executive Director of the New York University Center on International Cooperation; Ms. Mallika Iyer, Asia Programs Coordinator and Humanitarian Action Specialist of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders; Ms. Ornella Moderan, Head of Sahel Programme of the Institute for Security Studies; and Mr. Mandeep Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer of CIVICUS.

Discussants spoke on a range of topics, including the Secretary-General’s Prevention Agenda, successful approaches to prevention in complex security environments, the need to account for the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian efforts, the need to ensure evidence-based policy and program development which mainstreams human rights and gender consideration, and ways in which member states and the UN can better safeguard civic space while countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin offered her response to the discussants. She highlighted the need for gender considerations in the work done in the counterterrorism space, and the challenges that civil society actors are facing in this space. She also encouraged new types of meaningful civil society engagement with UN counterterrorism efforts. Interventions from the floor were made by a diverse set of civil society organizations representing diverse geographic regions and thematic priorities in the Strategy review. Final reflections were offered by Mr. Raffi Gregorian, Deputy Under-Secretary General and Director of the UNOCT, H.E. Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations and member state representatives. In his remarks, Mr. Gregorian highlighted some of the actions that UNOCT will be taking in relation to the topics mentioned in the report, including on protecting civic space as well as additional information on the review process itself. Ambassador Gonzato emphasized the importance of sustained collaboration with civil society and encouraged future co-facilitators to incorporate this event in future reviews.

The full transcript of the event can be found here.

For more information on the Global Center’s events, including its roundtable series, please contact Ms. Franziska Praxl at fpraxl@globalcenter.org.

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