The Netherlands and Morocco to lead Global Counterterrorism Forum

The Netherlands and Morocco will be the new co-chairs of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). This decision was reached by the members of the GCTF in Doha, Qatar. ‘From this new position the Netherlands and Morocco can work together to direct the fight against terrorism,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders in response to the decision. The Netherlands will replace the United States as co-chair in October, while Morocco will replace Turkey in May 2016.

The GCTF is an international partnership of 29 countries and the European Union which is committed to improving worldwide cooperation on counterterrorism. The Forum is chiefly concerned with issues like de-radicalisation and strengthening the rule of law and the justice system in the fight against terrorism. ‘The Forum helps reduce terrorist recruitment and helps make countries resilient enough to tackle terrorism within their own borders and in their own region,’ said Mr Koenders.

The Netherlands and Morocco have been working together within the GCTF for some time, leading a working group on foreign terrorist fighters (i.e. individuals who travel to war zones to take part in combat there). Drawing on successful past experiences, the Netherlands and Morocco have identified 19 best practices designed to reduce the number of foreign terrorist fighters.

‘By pinpointing the best ways of dealing with foreign terrorist fighters, countries can learn from one another. Together with Morocco we have ensured that we are approaching this problem in the same way and from the same perspective,’ remarked Mr Koenders.

The strong partnership between Morocco and the Netherlands in the field of counterterrorism has led to the two becoming co-chair of the Forum, allowing them to steers the body’s efforts. ‘I see it as a challenge to turn various best practices in the area of counterterrorism into genuine action and thus support the work of the United Nations,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘The Netherlands is one of the founders of the Forum, and we’ve played an active role since the very beginning. Over the coming year we will be taking up the baton from the United States and Turkey, which have led the Forum since its establishment in 2011.’

In addition to co-chairing the GCTF, the Netherlands will continue its leading role within the working groups of the anti-ISIS coalition, providing both a military and civilian contribution to the joint fight against ISIS and against terrorism in a broader sense.

More information about the Global Counterterrorism Forum can be found at www.thegctf.org.