Extra funds for the international fight against terrorism
Speaking at a ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in New York on Wednesday, foreign minister and meeting chair Bert Koenders announced that the Netherlands would be setting aside an additional €2.5 million for international projects to combat terrorism.
This amount is in addition to the more than €7.5 million that the Netherlands has already committed to international counterterrorism efforts. The €2.5 million will fund de-radicalisation projects in local communities in countries where radicalisation is a major problem. The Netherlands will also seek to work more closely with the United Nations and national authorities in places like Mali, in order to enhance preparedness for the return of foreign fighters.
The GCTF is an informal body which brings together 29 countries and the EU to fight terrorism. Together, the Forum’s members have pledged an additional $40 million to help governments of countries where terrorism is a problem to break the chain linking radicalisation to violent extremism and terrorism. These efforts centre on preventing and identifying radicalisation among young people, training judges, prison personnel and social workers, and improving the security of public places and events.
The GCTF, which for the past year has been co-chaired by the Netherlands and Morocco, was established five years ago. During that time over 1,000 judges, prosecutors and police officers have receiving training related to investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases. Three institutions have been set up to train the justice sector, assist governments in drawing up national counterterrorism action plans and help boost local communities’ resilience to violent extremism.
Mr Koenders stressed that the challenges are great and no one country can address them on its own. Fighting terrorism is a difficult undertaking that requires a long-term outlook. ‘Catching a terrorist isn’t like catching a Pokémon,’ Mr Koenders remarked to his fellow ministers. ‘But there’s no reason to get discouraged.’
A great deal has already been done, and as the minister has said, it is vital to continue working together and tackling new developments as they arise. ‘We’re seeing more and more attacks carried out by lone individuals using everyday objects as weapons. And when terrorists work in groups, their communications can be difficult to intercept on account of encrypted apps. Countries are collaborating within the GCTF to come up with an appropriate response to these trends,’ the minister said.