Without meaningful civil society engagement, the UN system’s counterterrorism policy, coordination, technical assistance, and advocacy risk causing more harm than good. This article argues that the United Nations needs to take its commitments to civil society seriously and uphold its do-no-harm principles of engagement in the field, which would require transforming the way it works with civil society organizations and consults them as part of counterterrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism policy discussions and programmatic efforts.

Research for this article was conducted as part of the Global Center’s project assessing UN counterterrorism efforts ahead of member states’ biennial review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, funded by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.

This article was originally published in Young Professionals in Foreign Policy on 28 September 2020.

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