The Global Counterterrorism Forum is an important player on the international scene impulsing the development of policies, concepts and recommendations in counterterrorism. The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) was established in New York in September 2011. 29 States from all over the world and the EU are members of the Forum. Its main goals are to identify national and international needs in terms of combating terrorism, to develop suitable solutions and to coordinate and facilitate capacity-building activities in partnership with interested countries. A founding and active member, Switzerland’s engagement is focused on promoting human rights in the counterterrorism context and advocating a close relationship with the United Nations.
The GCTF comprises a coordinating committee, co-chaired by Morocco and Canada and five working groups focusing on the following spheres of activity:
- Criminal justice and rule of law in counterterrorism
- Prevention of violent extremism
- Foreign terrorist fighters
- West Africa Region
- East Africa Region
Participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum offers Switzerland an important platform for safeguarding its interests and values and to promote international cooperation in counterterrorism and prevention of violent extremism. Switzerland also promotes respect for human rights and advocates for a close collaboration and coordination with the United Nations.
This means that the Forum has to pay equal attention to all four pillars of the UN's global strategy for combating terrorism:
- Fighting root causes
- Prevention and repression
- Building up state capacities
- Protection of human rights and rule of law
Switzerland co-chairs the GCTF Criminal Justice and Rule of Law Working Group together with Nigeria from 2017 to 2022. Switzerland facilitates the elaboration of non-binding framework documents that provide good practices and recommendations on criminal justice approaches to terrorism. Switzerland also contributes to the elaboration of good practices on counterterrorism and prevention of violent extremism in the online sphere.
Good practices and recommendations documents that were initiated by Switzerland and endorsed by the GCTF:
The Counter-Terrorism Coordination, within the Directorate of International Law of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs secures Switzerland’s contacts with the Forum.