From Tokunbo Adedoja in New York
Nigeria is among 30 countries that would join hands in a new initiative to combat global terrorism, the United States government has said.
The new initiative, Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which is a proposal of the US government, will be launched officially in New York on the margins of this month's United Nations General Assembly meetings.
It has 30 founding members which include: Nigeria, Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and US.
The State Department said on Friday that the forum was aimed at addressing the evolving terrorist threat in a way that would bring enduring benefits, by helping frontline countries and affected regions acquire the means to deal with threats they face.
Noting that the forum was intended to ensure necessary international architecture was in place to address 21st century challenges, it described it as, "a new, informal, multilateral CT (counterterrorism) body that will focus on identifying critical civilian CT needs, mobilizing the necessary expertise and resources to address these issues and build global political will."
In addition to this, it said the GCTF would "provide a needed venue for national CT officials and practitioners to meet with their counterparts from key countries in different regions to share CT experiences, expertise, strategies, capacity needs, and capacity-building programmes."
Other areas of focus of the new initiative include prioritizing civilian capacity building in areas such as rule of law, border management, and countering violent extremism, and providing a unique platform for senior CT policymakers and experts from key partners in different regions to share insights and best practices.
"In short, the GCTF will take a more strategic approach to civilian CT efforts and help us increase the number of countries capable – both technically and in terms of political will – of dealing with the terrorist challenge," the State Department said.
According to the US government, the forum would consist of a strategic-level Coordinating Committee and would be co-chaired initially by US and Turkey. It will also have five thematic and regional expert-driven working groups and a small administrative unit to be hosted by US for the first few years.
US said the initial working groups would focus on the criminal justice sector and rule of law, countering violent extremism, capacity building in the Sahel, capacity building in the Horn Region, and capacity building in Southeast Asia.
It, however, said that relevant non-GCTF member states and other relevant stakeholders, like UN, regional and sub-regional bodies, and non-government experts, would be invited to participate in the appropriate working group and their activities.
Apart from the UN being a close partner and participant in the forum and its activities, the State Department said, "GCTF will serve as a mechanism for furthering the implementation of the universally-agreed UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and, more broadly, complement and reinforce existing multilateral CT efforts, starting with those of the United Nations."
Noting that the forum is part of President Barack Obama’s National Counterterrorism Strategy, the State Department said the initiative was based on a recognition that US alone cannot eliminate every terrorist or terrorist organization, and that the international community must come together to assist countries as they work to confront terrorist threat.