On 4 May 2023, Egypt and the European Union co-chaired the 21st Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Coordination Committee Meeting, under the auspices of Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, in Cairo. Over 150 senior officials and practitioners from more than thirty countries discussed future action to counter global terrorism threats. At the meeting, co-chairs Egypt and the European Union presented their vision for the strategic direction and objectives of the GCTF during their tenure (2023-2025). Central to this vision is a more action-oriented and responsive Forum, delivering value where it is most needed.
Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, and Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, opened the Coordinating Committee meeting, underscoring their joint vision for a responsive approach to a developing counterterrorism landscape. In keeping with this, during the meeting, GCTF members engaged with practitioners from West Africa on the challenges facing the region and the most pressing needs to tackle the rehabilitation and social reintegration of former fighters and their family members, where the GCTF would seek to provide support.
“We are honored to be hosting the first GCTF Coordinating Committee meeting co-chaired with the European Union, in which all parties underscored their collective commitment to continue fighting this global scourge. As Co-Chairs, we recognize the importance of driving global counterterrorism efforts and preventing and countering violent extremism conducive to terrorism, including through addressing the root causes of terrorism and countering terrorist narratives and ideologies. Throughout our tenure, Africa will be a key priority. We are determined, throughout our tenure, to focus our attention on new and emerging threats”, said Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt.
“We are in Africa today, where the threat of terrorism is rapidly evolving, with global implications. Our message is clear: we must focus on tackling the scourge of terrorism across the continent and we must do so together with a wide range of actors from the ground – governments, communities, civil society. The EU is committed to assuring the GCTF is dynamic, action-oriented and remains fit-for-purpose. Africa is a strategic priority of our tenure as co-chair. We hope to engage and hear more from those directly affected and provide responses to the challenges they face. Embracing more African partners within the Forum would represent a key step in this direction.” said Charles Fries, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service.
During the event, Morocco formally handed over the Co-Chair to Egypt. The GCTF members expressed their gratitude to Morocco for its unstinting work over the past eight years as Co-Chair.
“Over the course of three consecutive mandates, Morocco has embarked on an exciting journey as Co-Chair of the Forum to steer GCTF efforts as a crucial platform for international cooperation on counterterrorism. We are honoured for the trust and confidence bestowed upon us, as we have dedicated the best of our efforts to promoting the Forum’s vision. Thanks to this collective engagement, we have made remarkable strides, and achieved outstanding endeavors. Continuing this commitment, Morocco’s engagement to the GCTF mission will remain unequivocal. We will spare no efforts to pursue advancing the Forum’s vision and goals,” said Ismail Chekkori, Director of Global Issues, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates of Morocco.
Co-Chairs Egypt and the European Union expressed their commitment to working with the GCTF members to implement a comprehensive and global approach that addresses the root causes of terrorism and provides adequate – and operational – responses to threats on the ground. They underlined the importance of a deepened engagement with other actors in so doing, whilst stressing the importance they attach to greater collaboration with the three Institutions “inspired” by the GCTF – the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), Hedayah and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) – in delivering on GCTF priorities and the co-Chairs’ vision.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum was established in 2011 by 30 Members as an informal, apolitical, multilateral counterterrorism platform to strengthen international efforts in the strategic, long-term approach to counterterrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism. It has since responded to new and emerging threats through the development of practical tools for policymakers and practitioners. The Forum collaborates with partners around the globe to identify critical civilian counterterrorism needs and to mobilize the necessary expertise and resources to support capacity building. The GCTF works closely with the UN Global Coordination Compact; GCTF policy tools and documents have been widely used by the UN system and beyond. They have also formed the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions on counterterrorism. The GCTF also works hand in hand with the GCTF-Inspired Institutions: the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) based in Geneva; Hedayah (the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism) based in Abu Dhabi; and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), based in Valletta.
The GCTF Coordination Committee Meeting takes place twice each year. This was the first meeting co-hosted by Egypt and the European Union; the next will take place in September, alongside a GCTF Ministerial meeting in New York.