CGCC convened this policy forum with more than 50 participants from the United Nations, member states, civil society, and the media to consider the current evolution of UN work on counterterrorism and other transnational threats, such as drug trafficking and human and arms trafficking. Participants heard addresses from Ambassador Mike Smith, Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; Joanne Mariner, Director of the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program at Human Rights Watch; and James Cockayne, CGCC Senior Fellow and Director of the New York office.
Ambassador Smith stressed the evolving nature of UN counterterrorism work and the comparative advantages the United Nations can bring to bear in norm-setting, developing political legitimacy, and working with partners to develop the rule of law, promoting solutions to new challenges posed by changing terrorist threats. He suggested that the United Nations is increasingly looking to nontraditional areas, such as education and engagement with religious actors, as ways to ensure the long-term impact of counterterrorism efforts. Mariner stressed the influence of UN frameworks on the actions of member states, describing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Security Council Resolution 1904, which creates the position of Ombudsperson to assist the al-Qaida sanctions committee consider delisting requests, as “a step in the right direction.” Cockayne stressed the need to consider counterterrorism in the broader context of transnational crime and multifaceted efforts to “build out the rule of law” by building better connections within the United Nations and between the United Nations and national, regional, and private sector partners.