The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria, organized the “Regional Workshop on the Implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in West Africa and the Sahel” on 31 October – 01 November, 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The two-day workshop, which was the fifth and last in a series of similar workshops in other regions of the world, was attended by over 80 participants representing 38 regional and donor States, as well as international and regional organizations, including from the United Nations.
The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share information, experiences, challenges, and best practices related to the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy at the national and regional levels, with emphasis on addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism; as well as measures to ensuring respect for human rights for all.
“The international community has recognized the serious threat that terrorism poses to international peace and security,” the Director, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office, Mr Jehangir Khan, told participants. “The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted in 2006 by all Member States, is an acknowledgement of the universal belief that terrorism needs to be countered comprehensively.”
Mr. Khan also called for more capacity building in the area of technology transfer and effective border management in addressing transnational threat of terrorism. He assured that the United Nations was ready to assist member States counter the menace of terrorism effectively, build upon States’ cherished values and principles, and guard their collective commitment to protect and enhance human life, human dignity and welfare of citizens of West Africa and the Sahel regions.
During the panel discussion and interventions, participants addressed the West African and Sahel region’s counter-terrorism needs and priorities; the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel; ECOWAS efforts against terrorism and coordinated capacity-building initiatives of Member States and United Nations. The nexus between development issues and the region’s security dynamics, effective collaborative border management and human rights and the rule of law were also discussed. The need for strong political will was underscored as an important element in efforts against terrorism.
In addition, participants called upon all relevant partners to promote the effective implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the ECOWAS regional counter-terrorism strategy in an integrated and mutually reinforcing manner. Participants also welcomed the joint visit next week of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Mr. Jim Yong Kim to the Sahel region as an important step in helping the West Africa and Sahel region to regain peace and stability.