On 12 December 2019, CTED, in cooperation with the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and the Australian Permanent Mission to the UN, held a roundtable meeting to discuss the Global Terrorism Index 2019. The roundtable provided an opportunity for CTED to brief Member States and UN entities on its work on trends and for IEP to share findings from the Index, including some of the ways that the data can be analysed and utilised.
The Index includes statistical data ranging from the total cost of terrorism annually – which was $33 billion USD in 2018 – to an analysis of the differing targets of male and female suicide bombers. “It is vital that we develop a better understanding of the terrorism phenomenon. To do so, we need empirically tested, evidence-based and multi-disciplinary research, supported by rigorous analytical frameworks – like the Global Terrorism Index,” stated Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of CTED.
The Index also reported that deaths from terrorism had fallen 15% over the past 4 years and that there were now more countries with falling rates of terrorist attacks than those with rising rates. However, IEP representative Serge Stroobants said this year’s Global Terrorism Index indicated that 72 countries had experienced at least one death from acts of terror, the largest spread of terrorist attacks in the last 20 years. The findings also showed that Afghanistan has become the country most impacted by terrorism overtaking Iraq at the top of the list for the first time in 18 years with 46% of all victims of terror.
One of the emerging trends identified by the Global Terrorism Index was the rise of extreme right-wing extremism. Ambassador Mitch Fifield of the Australian Permanent Mission stressed the importance of mobilising international efforts to address this growing issue and the need to take stock of what has been already done to combat this phenomenon. For example, Ambassador Fifield explained that after the Christchurch terrorist attack earlier this year, the Australian government had passed legislation to hold companies accountable for failing to stop the spread of terrorist content on their platforms. He stressed the need for work at the national level to avoid the amplification of terrorist through streaming platforms.