This paper presents the key findings and recommendations from consultations with civil society organized in connection with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) regional high-level conferences on counterterrorism.

Following the first UN High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States in June 2018, the UNOCT organized seven regional high-level conferences to “keep up the momentum on key counter-terrorism issues … strengthen international cooperation … [and] pro­mote implementation of the [United Nations] Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.” To help bolster civil society engagement as part of that process, UNOCT partnered with the Global Center to organize two one-day, civil society–led workshops preceding the last two regional conferences, in Abu Dhabi on 17 December 2019 and Vienna on 10 February 2020.

This paper summarizes the key outcomes of those discussions. It highlights some of the contributions of civil society to advance implementation of the Strategy in the areas of prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation and reintegration. It identifies challenges and proposes a series of recommendations for states, intergovernmental bodies, and civil society to enhance engagement on counterterrorism and preventing violent extremism by 1) creating an enabling environment for civil society, 2) supporting its financial and organizational capacity, and 3) engaging it in relevant policy formulation and implementation processes at all levels.

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