Realizing a Whole-of-Society Approach to Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration in the Far North Region of Cameroon

This policy brief presents recommendations for a whole-of-society approach to the reintegration of former Boko Haram associates in Cameroon. The brief builds the Global Center’s engagement with local, national, and regional partners in Cameroon to strengthen the country’s response to terrorism in the Far North Region, a joint roundtable with the Centre for Peace, Security and Integration Studies of the University of Maroua, and other consultations. The Cameroonian case offers a window into the roles of different stakeholders in shaping and implementing efforts to reintegrate ex-associates and the challenges they face. This brief emphasizes the need to adapt to local specificities and to place communities at the heart of the process, which is particularly important in nontraditional disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration contexts such as the Lake Chad Basin, where peace agreements are absent and conflict is ongoing.

The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF)’s Gender and Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) Policy Toolkit was developed under the leadership of the GCTF CVE Working Group Co-Chairs, the governments of Australia and Indonesia, and implemented by the Global Center with support from Professor Jacqui True and a twelve-person Expert Project Advisory Committee. The Gender and P/CVE Policy Toolkit was developed to support the implementation of the Good Practices on Women and Countering Violent Extremism (2015) and the Addendum to the Good Practices on Women and Countering Violent Extremism, with a Focus on Mainstreaming Gender (2019) by providing practitioners and policymakers with relevant frameworks, good practices, and resources for designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating gender-responsive P/CVE policies and programs.

The Toolkit is based on the premise that mainstreaming gender is about ensuring inclusive, equitable participation and leadership of people of diverse gender and intersecting identities, while also recognizing the diversity within a group of individuals that identifies similarly. It is about accounting for the experiences, needs, and challenges of individuals and recognizing gender differences and inequalities, as well as intersecting factors, including socioeconomic, age, disability, ethnic, and cultural identities.

The threat of violent extremism, porous borders and vast coastlines, and interconnectivity by land, sea, and air has caused Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to adopt strong governmental approaches to tackling violent extremism and terrorism within their jurisdictions. This report explores practical examples of how governments and civil society have cooperated across Southeast Asia to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals associated with violent extremism, including prisoners, detainees, and returnees. The case studies featured are examples of how governments and civil society have approached rehabilitation and reintegration across the five countries of focus, but are not intended as an assessment of the success or propriety of the actions taken nor as an embrace of the approach. Rather, they are meant to highlight discrete elements that may be informative as stakeholders consider ways to advance cooperation between governments and civil society.

This brief provides background to contextualize proposed changes to the UN’s counterterrorism funding and grantmaking mandate. They follow from the requests made by member states in the seventh review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy for the Secretary-General to make budgetary recommendations for the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and for a cost-effective grants-making mandate for UNOCT. The brief presents a system-wide lens through which to assess these requests by drawing comparisons to other UN entities and notes, among others, incongruities between the 2023 proposed regular budget and the Secretary-General’s priorities as stated in his report Our Common Agenda. Further, it encourages member states to seek clarification on the type of grantmaking mandate being requested by UNOCT, to whom funds will be disbursed, and to what ends. This brief builds on independent analysis by the Global Center on the UN’s comparative advantages in policy development, interagency coordination, delivery, and impact of counterterrorism and preventing violent extremism efforts, and this work is funded by the Government of Norway.

UN Photo/Cia Pak

Since the 9/11 attacks, there has been a significant increase in attacks attributable to violent extremists motivated by racial, ethnic, and anti-authority sentiment. Understanding how the finances connected to these extremists are raised, used, moved, and stored is vitally important to designing strategies to prevent and counter extremist violence, no matter the ideological, religious, idiosyncratic, racial, or ethnic motivations. This brief examines the online financing and support systems associated with U.S. anti-authority and racially or ethnically motivated (AAREM) violent extremists. It focuses on the threat as manifest in the United States and to a lesser extent the transnational dimensions of AAREM violent extremist financing. Clear linkages between U.S. and transnational violent extremists, especially within white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles, also extend to the world of financing. It concludes with several policy solutions to better combat the financial support systems of AAREM violent extremists.

Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning present both challenges and opportunities for terrorism and counterterrorism efforts. Violent extremists and other hostile actors can increasingly exploit emerging AI technologies to sow disinformation and exacerbate polarization, target humans and their information systems, manipulate data sets, and attack critical infrastructure. At the same time, the embrace of AI and machine learning by states in the service of counterterrorism has the potential to exacerbate concerns about profiling and human rights. This brief examines these threats and the ways that international organizations, including the United Nations, can and should protect against the misapplication of these technologies by states and nonstate actors alike.

The recent revelations in the Panama and Pandora papers, as well as several smaller leaks, have exposed how anonymous shell companies and the use of secrecy jurisdictions can shield wealth amounting to billions of U.S. dollars and facilitate criminal activity. The scandals exposed a system that allowed for the shifting of taxable wealth to shell companies in low-tax jurisdictions, as well as the concealment of legitimate and illegitimate assets from authorities.

This brief draws on a review of the practice of obtaining beneficial ownership information in the United States, the United Kingdom, and several countries in Africa and South Asia. It examines the existing approaches to collecting beneficial ownership information and the related challenges that practitioners experience. It concludes with recommendations for policymakers and regulators on strengthening the collection and maintenance of beneficial ownership information as a primary tool for the detection and prevention of money laundering, tax evasion, corruption, fraud, and other criminal activity.

This brief presents key recommendations for improving civil society engagement in UN counterterrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) efforts. It provides concrete steps that the United Nations and its member states can take to better engage civil society and offers a blueprint for civil society to advocate for and assert itself more consistently and effectively within the UN counterterrorism architecture, policies, and programs.

The recommendations are based on wide-ranging consultations with individuals representing diverse civil society organizations, governments, and UN entities as well a comparative analysis of relevant mechanisms for engagement between civil society and other multilateral bodies.

The Global Center is grateful to the many partners who participated in the consultations and the Government of Switzerland for its financial support. We are especially grateful to the members of the project’s advisory council.

In recent years, the growth of digital financial services, and more particularly mobile money, has been at the center of financial inclusion initiatives in various countries, notably in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Financial inclusion is featured as a prominent enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals, yet various constraints and barriers prevent eligible adults from accessing digital financial services. Policy and regulatory factors affect the environment in which these services are provided, practical barriers affect an individual’s ability to access and utilize digital financial services, and social and cultural factors affect the customer’s adoption and usage of and trust in digital financial services or its providers. This brief explores the barriers and constraints that hinder digital financial inclusion efforts in jurisdictions that have unbanked populations. It offers recommendations to policymakers and financial sector supervisors on adopting a risk-based approach that overcomes these challenges and enables expanded provision of mobile money and other digital financial services to realize financial inclusion objectives.

Despite a growing volume of research on foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), there remains limited publicly available research on the financial footprints of FTFs and the facilitation networks that support them. This typology report, produced in partnership between the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the Global Center, examines what is known and unknown regarding the financial profiles of FTFs connected to Southeast Asia and explores the collection and utilization of FTF-related financial intelligence in the region. Persistent challenges in detecting FTF financial patterns underscore the critical importance of partnership between law enforcement, intelligence agencies, border control, and financial intelligence units.