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2023 Counter-Terrorism Week in Retrospect

2023 Counter-Terrorism Week in Retrospect


“Terrorism affects every region of the world. It preys on local and national vulnerabilities and the instability of political, economic and security systems,” Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, recently told global counter-terrorism actors.

Addressing delegates at the Third High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States on 19 June 2023, Mr. Guterres noted that poverty, inequalities and social exclusion fuel terrorism, while prejudice and discrimination targeting specific groups, cultures, religions and ethnicities inflame it. Consequently, criminal activities like money laundering, illegal mining, and the trafficking of arms, drugs, antiquities and human beings thrive, while financing terrorism.

He added that terrorism festers in the complex crises engulfing the world today, from the food and energy crisis to the growing inferno of climate change that is increasing competition for scarce resources and forcing people away from their homes, to cyberspace where prejudice, discrimination, misogyny, societal division and outright hatred run rampant.

These issues are at the core of UNICRI’s work and the Institute’s action-oriented research seeks to address their various aspects in relation to crime prevention and the promotion of justice and rule of law through a multifaceted approach.

UNICRI and partners hosted a broad range of side events to discuss crucial topics related to countering terrorism. These included climate security, artificial intelligence,  the nexus between organized crime and terrorism, as well as the role of youth in preventing violent extremism through sport.

The third United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week took place in New York from 19 to 23 June 2023. The biennial event brought together Member States and international partners who are at the forefront of global efforts to counter the growing scourge of terrorism.


Climate security and violent extremism: From Research to Climate-Based Risk Assessments and Programming

Across the globe, climate change has undermined security and triggered violent conflict, with climate insecurity being leveraged by terrorists to pursue their aims. The side event was anchored in the 2022 report Perceptions of climate change and violent extremism: Listening to local communities in Chad published by UNICRI in partnership with SWISSAID. It sought to a) raise-awareness amongst participants of the ongoing discourse around climate and security, in particular the impact of climate change and degradation of natural resources and how this can exacerbate local conflicts, and b) highlight the linkages between climate insecurity with radicalization and recruitment by terrorist groups.

Read the Closing Remarks by the Deputy Director of UNICRI, Mr. Leif Villadsen

Watch the video:


The Battle of the Bytes: Confronting the Dark Side of Generative AI and the Prospect of its Malicious Use for Terrorist Purposes

This side event was organized by UNOCT and UNICRI in cooperation with CTED and with the support of the Permanent Missions of Australia and Japan. It aimed to highlight the significant technological advancements that have taken place since the 2020 launch of the UNOCT and UNICRI publication Algorithms and Terrorism, raise awareness of what the malicious use of generative AI may look like, and to support and inform Member States about this emerging threat as they engage in international processes, such as the implementation of the Delhi Declaration on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes, adopted in October 2022 by the Counter-Terrorism Committee during its Special Meeting held in Delhi, India.

Read the Remarks by the Deputy Director of UNICRI, Mr. Leif Villadsen

Watch the video:


The Nexus between Organized Crime and Terrorism in the Americas

This side event was organized by UNICRI, OAS and CTED, with the support of the Permanent Mission of Chile. It served as a platform to share the findings, highlights and key takeaways of the joint OAS-UNICRI study on the linkages between organized crime and terrorism in the Americas with participants. It is expected that the outcome of the side event will contribute to further raising awareness of the relevance of the nexus for the Americas and trigger an ensuing dialogue that will be valuable for participating counter-terrorism agencies, as well as Member States actively engaged in the eighth review the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Read the Remarks by the Deputy Director of UNICRI, Mr. Leif Villadsen

Watch the video:


The Role of Youth in Preventing Violent Extremism through Sport

This side event aimed to:

1. Strengthen the role of youth as one of the key stakeholders and provide recommendations for effective incorporation of youth perspectives in the PVE goals through sport; and

2. Encourage more institutional cooperation and support towards youth-led sport-based PVE initiatives.

Read the remarks by the Director of UNICRI, Ms. Antonia Marie De Meo

Read the Press Release



Watch the video: