The United Nations Secretary-General has declared that Africa is currently the “global epicenter” of terrorism.
During a meeting in New York, António Guterres addressed counter-terrorism efforts across the continent. He expressed concern over terror groups causing destruction and division in countries through violent acts, mistrust, and fear.
“Terrorist groups are expanding their influence, community by community,” he stated. He also mentioned that their networks are growing, recruiting more members and acquiring more resources, as well as collaborating with transnational organized crime.
In all instances, innocent people bear the greatest burden and ultimately, it affects all of mankind.
“Take on this raging fire at once.”
Speaking to a group of individuals knowledgeable about counter-terrorism, government officials, and members of civil society and private sector, Mr. Guterres emphasized the urgent need to address the crisis directly before it escalates beyond our control.
He mentioned efforts like the multinational task force in the Lake Chad Basin to combat Boko Haram, as well as the African Union (AU) Transition Mission in Somalia, in addition to Security Council resolution 2719 which supports funding for AU-led peace operations.
“However, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the need for urgent and significant action beyond what has been previously observed.”
He emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism, which are fragility and instability. He also mentioned the New Agenda for Peace that he introduced in July as a means to address these issues.
He stated that combatting terrorism should prioritize human rights and target those who are marginalized and vulnerable.
The high-level conference of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact will focus on the increasing levels of violence and the proliferation of terrorist networks.
Attendees will also discuss ways to synchronize counter-terrorism initiatives with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The Counter-Terrorism Compact was established in 2018 and consists of 46 organizations, both UN and non-UN. It encompasses INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, and the Financial Action Task Force, which work together to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.