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The 10th Ministerial Meeting of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF), co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Nasser Bourita and his counterpart from the Netherlands, Mr. Stef Blok, was held in New York on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.
This 10th edition marked the end of the Moroccan co-presidency with the Dutch partners, but with regard to the performance and achievements of Morocco, the members of the GCTF voted in March 2019 in favor of the re-election of Morocco for a 3rd term with Canada, for the 2020-2022 period.
This new decision clearly reflects the renewed confidence and esteem that the Kingdom enjoys as a key partner in the fight against terrorism, both within this Forum and on the international level.
Under the enlightened leadership of H.M the King Mohammed VI, the Kingdom has developed an expertise and a unique and globally recognized experience and approach for its efficiency, based on economic, political, religious and social reforms, including those relating to the fight against social exclusion and instability.
Morocco’s multifaceted commitment has made it an indispensable active partner in counterterrorism efforts, as well as a vehicle for stability through its active contribution to the global and regional capacity-building efforts.
During this important meeting, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco delivered an important speech, focused on four fundamental messages:
- The absolute necessity of maintaining a strong commitment in the fight against terrorism;
- Countering terrorism in Africa;
- The importance of sustaining the GCTF’s role as a trailblazer and continuing to support the implementation of its deliverables;
- The need to lean on the legacy of the Dutsh-Moroccan Co-Chairmanship and to remain committed to serving the GCTF’s goals and objectives;
Regarding the fight against terrorism in Africa, in particular, the Minister recalled that:
- Africa experienced record levels of violence in 2018.
- Countries of the Sahel recorded a number of victims four times higher in 2018 compared to 2012.
- Between November 2018 and March 2019 the increase in number of civilian victims varied from 300% to up to 7 000% in some Sahel countries, compared to the same period during the previous year.
- During the first six months of 2019, the continent has been the theater to more than two hundred (200) terrorist attacks, resulting in more than five thousand (5000) victims amongst civilian populations and security forces.
- In addition, while in 2010 there was only one terrorist group in the Sahel, today there is more than 12 operating in the region.
- The alarming rise of violent extremism in Africa could lead to another global wave of terror, seriously jeopardizing not only the future of the continent but also international stability, given that our security is one and indivisible.
- In order to prevent such occurrence, there is an urgent need to pay a strategic attention to understanding and addressing the factors leading to the proliferation of terrorist groups in Africa;
- The need to support the development of the right security skills that match the evolution of the threat;
- The GCTF has a fundamental role to play in adding value to the efforts already undertaken at the international and regional level.
On the other hand, the Minister pointed out that Morocco and the Netherlands have, over the last four years, been careful to lead the Forum with pragmatism and determination, setting as priorities the consolidation of the Forum’s proactive approach and mobilizing efforts to create solutions to emerging threats.
During the last four years, 18 framework documents have been developed and 9 new initiatives have been launched on key themes in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, such as borders security, fight against the spread of online extremism, the protection of vulnerable sites, the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism, the fight against manifestations of terrorism of national origin, etc…
In four years, The GCTF has organized nearly 65 meetings and has collaborated with more than one hundred countries, international and regional non-member organizations, including the UN with which a mutually beneficial relationship has been developed and strengthened, through active and effective cooperation with concrete and strategic content to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, particularly in East and West Africa.
Morocco and the Netherlands have carried out a structural review of the GCTF which has allowed the Forum to evolve while preserving its achievements in terms of flexibility, balance and openness, through the rationalization of its Working Groups and the enlargement of the regions covered by its Regional Working Groups.
This meeting resulted in the adoption of four new framework documents on:
• The role of women in the fight against violent extremism;
• Fight against threats related to the use of drone systems by terrorists;
• The use of administrative measures in the context of the fight against terrorism;
• The establishment and management of watch lists to detect and respond to terrorist movements.
During this meeting, the Memorandum of New York on the Good Practices for Interference of Movements of Foreign Terrorists has been adopted. The meeting was also launched with the American, Jordanian, Swiss and Nigerian partners of two new initiatives on Maritime Security and Terrorist Displacement, and the response to the Criminal Justice Terrorism, the Transnational Organized Crime and the International Crimes.
It should be recalled that the GCTF, a platform co-chaired by Morocco and Canada, is composed of 30 members in addition to states and partner organizations, including the UN. The Forum regularly brings together policymakers and experts in the areas of counter-terrorism. Its activities revolve around five working groups related to the fight against violent extremism, combatants, criminal justice and the rule of law, the strengthening of rights in West Africa and the strengthening of capacities in West and East Africa.
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