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Seminar of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on
Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism in Partnership with UNICRI and the CTITF

27 June 2012 – New York

 

Background

The terrorist threat remains high in many regions of the world. Several terrorist organizations of diverse ideological inspiration continue to innovate in strategy and tactics; their increasing transnational linkage and the globalization of their regional political agendas, their scope, intent and capability conform a truly global threat picture. One decade since the start of the global commitment to prevent and fight terrorism, and six years after the adoption of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, counter terrorism efforts offer mixed results.

More Member States than ever consider counter-terrorism a priority of national policy. Bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation has increased substantially and effective multilateralism has developed and improved, to include not just the UN and the EU, but also other regional organizations with significant value added. Several good practices have emerged in this process and a community of qualified international experts has flourished.

However, significant gaps remain in evidence-based understanding of the conditions conducive to terrorism and how individuals are exploited by terrorist groups, on empirical measurement of effectiveness of interventions, and on capacity-building to the Member States.

Today, countering the appeal of terrorism emerges as a priority. Ideological factors, intolerance, unresolved conflicts, exclusion, inequality, social marginalization and lack of integration of local communities amongst others usually converge in the enabling environment where terrorism can become appealing to some as an instrument of political activism. Thus, security, law-enforcement and judicial measures alone do not suffice to counter this sociopolitical phenomenon; measures to promote development, dialogue and understanding, upstream prevention and downstream rehabilitation (on a case by case basis) are necessary.

The United Nations, including through the CTITF, is active in the policies and practical implementation of actions through various UN instruments relevant to the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon of violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism. In the last five years, thematic working groups covering different methods to counter the appeal of terrorism have been set up; regional workshops on the implementation of the UN Global CT Strategy have been held; good practices in upstream prevention have been identified; and cutting edge practical tools to deliver results locally are being developed in the field of disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration. All of this has been developed within a high-level political process enabled by Member States who have involved themselves, their governments and their experts in a long-term multilateral partnership to further the goals of countering terrorism with concrete results.

The Center on Policies to Counter the Appeal of Terrorism has been established by UNICRI on mandate of the CTITF. Many Member States have expressed a desire to learn and share information about each others' experiences, lessons learned and good practices in this respect. The UNICRI action in this field is conceived to meet the need to identify innovative means to prevent and counter the appeal of violent extremism and terrorist recruitment and provide Member States with actionable knowledge to strengthen national capacity.

The UNICRI initiative on Countering the Appeal of Terrorism also aims to address, from a multilateral perspective, the downstream effort to disengage, rehabilitate and reintegrate into society individuals who have been involved in terrorist activities.

Two of the key elements in the UN strategic approach to countering terrorism are dialogue and understanding. Since they enable societal resilience through the furthering of education, openness, and participation in society, they are essential to addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) plays an important role in the enhancement of dialogue and understanding. They promote intercultural educational ethics that help foster coexistence, dialogue, and tolerance through various activities that advance knowledge, skills and values among learners and teachers. UNESCO enhances an innovative approach to building a culture of dialogue and understanding in public policy and cross-cultural domains.

The area of Dialogue and Understanding is particularly valuable when addressing the non-security related aspects of terrorism, but activities related to promoting dialogue and understanding among civilizations have intrinsic value in their own right and are not exclusive to the purpose of countering terrorism.

 

Objective

Following from this ongoing technical process, this one-day seminar is organized with the objective of nurturing the momentum of high level political attention and support to the complex area of dialogue, understanding and countering the appeal of terrorism, and to learn from some of the existing good practices that are being developed and applied in various regional and national programmes to counter the appeal of terrorism.

 

Documents

Tentative Programme

The seminar will take place on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 in Conference Room 4 (NLB) at the UN Headquarters in New York. It will consist of opening and closing sessions, as well as a morning and afternoon panel discussions.

Following presentations by the panellists, the floor will be open to delegates and other participants to share their experiences and perspectives in both the morning and afternoon interactive panel discussions. Delegations are encouraged to engage in an open and interactive discussion. There will be no established list of speakers, and delegations are kindly asked to limit their interventions to a maximum of 3 minutes.

 

Time

Programme

10:30am–11:00am

Opening Session:

H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly
H.E. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
H.E. Mr. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada

11:00am – 1:00pm

Morning Interactive Panel Discussion:
Countering the Appeal of Terrorism and Disengagement and Rehabilitation Initiatives

Chair: Dr. Jonathan Lucas, Director, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)

Panellists:

  • Countering the appeal of terrorism

Mr. Mike Smith, Assistant Secretary-General, Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate

  • African challenges in countering the appeal of terrorism

H.E. Mr. Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, African Union Special Representative in charge of Counter Terrorism Cooperation

  • South-East Asia challenges in countering the appeal of terrorism

H.E. Mr. Albert Chua, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Singapore to the United Nations

  • The Norwegian experience in reducing extreme violence

Mr. Odd Berner Malme, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations (Former Deputy National Police Commissioner of Norway)

  • Presentation on UNICRI Center on Policies to Counter the Appeal of Terrorism and Initiative on Disengagement and Rehabilitation of Violent Extremists

Dr. Douglas Stone, Senior Adviser, UNICRI

  • The challenge of recruitment and engagement in European prisons

Mr. Peter Knoope, Director, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague

3:00pm – 5:00pm

Afternoon Interactive Panel Discussion:
Dialogue and Understanding

Chair: Mr. Kamel Rezag Bara, Counter-Terrorism Advisor to the President of Algeria

Panellists:

  • The use of educational programs to combat violent extremism

Dr. Katérina Stenou, Director, Intersectoral Platform for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO

Mr. Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

  • Dialogue and the use of Internet

Mr. Richard Barrett, 1267 Monitoring Team

  • Global efforts to enhance intercultural dialogue and understanding

Mr. Daanish Masood, United Nations Alliance of Civilization

  • Victims' Voices and their potential impact

Mr. Max Boon, Survivor of 2009 JW Marriot Hotel Jakarta terrorist attack - Associate Fellow, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague

5:00pm – 6:00pm

Closing Session:

H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly
Mr. Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General, Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)
Ms. Mara Marinaki, Managing Director "Global and Multilateral Issues", European External Action Service
Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

 

 

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