On 25 June 2021, in the margins of the 2021 United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week (held from 21 to 30 June 2021), CTED and the Permanent Mission of Tunisia to the United Nations held a side event entitled, “Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on terrorism, counter-terrorism, and countering violent extremism”. The speakers included H.E. Mr. Tarek Ladeb, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations and Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee; Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of CTED; and a number of expert speakers from the CTED Global Research Network. The discussions focused on the complex and evolving challenges posed by the pandemic for Member States’ counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts, while also examining future implications and solutions.
H.E. Mr. Ladeb opened the meeting by stressing that the Counter-Terrorism Committee had been able to maintain business continuity during the pandemic by adapting to circumstances, notably by engaging with Member States in virtual settings and adopting a hybrid assessment visit format.
Assistant Secretary-General Coninsx shared the key findings of CTED’s most recent analysis of this topic, which sheds light on the main issues and challenges that have emerged during the pandemic in the area of terrorism, counter-terrorism, and CVE. The pandemic had exacerbated existing grievances that might fuel radicalization to violence and have long-term impacts in the areas of border management and law enforcement; prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of suspected terrorists; gender considerations; human rights; and countering the financing of terrorism.
Panellists Ms. May Salem, of the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping & Peacebuilding (CCCPA), Ms. Maya Mirchandani of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), and Mr. Milo Comerford, of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue pointed to key challenges and issues emerging in their respective regions. The pandemic had exacerbated existing trends in terrorism and violent extremism, including by heightening grievances, polarization, and drivers that fuelled radicalization. Its impacts were likely to pose challenges to future counter-terrorism and CVE efforts, likely leading to funding and support cuts, particularly for longer-term P/CVE programming. The panellists also stressed the need to revise counter-terrorism policies in light of the current terrorism and violent extremism landscape, which had become increasingly diverse and diffuse, and noted the importance of strengthening cooperation and engagement with all stakeholders, including Member States, United Nations entities, international and regional organizations, the private sector, civil society, and the research community.
Assistant Secretary-General Coninsx stressed that CTED remained committed to monitoring, facilitating, and promoting the efforts of Member States to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions on terrorism, as well as keeping Member States and practitioners abreast of the latest trends, issues and development in terrorism and counter-terrorism, while also linking evidence-based research with policymakers.
Watch the event here.
The concept note for the virtual side event is available here.
The agenda for the virtual side event is available here.
For more information about the additional events organized and co-organized by CTED during the 2021 United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week, please click here.