On 25 June 2021, CCCPA and Women in International Security–Horn of Africa (WIIS-HoA) co-hosted a side event titled “Beyond Territorial Defeat of Terrorist Groups: The Way Forward to Lasting Peace” on the margins of the 2021 Counter-Terrorism Week.
The side event aimed to take stock of emerging and future terrorism trends, with a particular focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the terrorism landscape. Participants discussed the means and tools to respond to the ever-evolving nature of the terrorist threat in the coming decade. They also discussed the challenges and response measures to ensure coherent, comprehensive and integrated efforts on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Director General of CCCPA, emphasized how “the multifaceted nature of the COVID-19 crisis highlights the imperative for investing in institutional capacities, leveraging pillars of community resilience and advancing efforts and policies that go beyond security-based approaches.” He also added that the side event serves to enhance the AU peacebuilding architecture as outlined in the AU PCRD strategy - taking into consideration that Egypt is the AU Champion of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) - and to advance the implementation of the Aswan Forum Conclusions.
On his part, Ambassador Mohamed Edrees, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN, highlighted the importance of adopting a ‘post-territorial defeat’ approach in order to enhance counter-terrorism efforts, particularly in light of the extraordinary circumstances imposed by the pandemic; and advancing counter-narratives, noting the increase in terrorist messages and narratives disseminated online during the pandemic. Ambassador Edrees emphasized that due to the growing nexus between conflict and terrorism, international support is needed to help conflict-affected countries invest in institution-building to address the root causes of conflict and extremism leading to terrorism. Finally, he stated that in Egypt’s capacity as the current Chair of the PBC, “it spares no effort in providing an integral platform to mobilize international support to nationally-identified peacebuilding needs and priorities.”
CCCPA’s Programme Manager for DDR and Preventing Radicalization and Extremism Leading to Terrorism (PRELT), and Thematic Content Manager of the Aswan Forum, Ms. May Salem, highlighted that “territorial defeat cannot be perceived as an end goal, but as a starting point to enhance institutional and community resilience through long-term investments across different sectors including development, peacebuilding, education and preventing extremism conducive to terrorism.”
The side-event’s discussions resulted in a number of policy recommendations for policymakers and practitioners to address the parallel challenge of effectively managing individuals formerly associated with terrorist groups, while also addressing the persistent drivers to terrorism. The recommendations included (i) adopting a ‘post-territorial defeat approach’ to counter-terrorism by addressing terrorist narratives and ideologies; (ii) implementing comprehensive systems of engagement that take into consideration the ideology, gender and geographical dimensions of the crisis in order to effectively counter the increasingly transnational nature of terrorism; (iii) advancing regional Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (PRR) frameworks within sub-regions; and (iv) enhancing institutional and community resilience through long-term investments across different sectors including development, peacebuilding, education and preventing extremism conducive to terrorism.
Attending the side event were leading experts and practitioners from a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds, including Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), counter-terrorism, preventing extremism, development, and prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration. Participants represented national governments, international and regional organizations, research centers and civil society organizations.
This event was made possible by the generous support of the Government of Japan.
Watch the full recording of the virtual side event here: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1a/k1a63lk9j3