PAM contributes to the NATO South Hub conversation on developing effective counterterrorist measures for the Sahel and North Africa

On 24 November 2020, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) participated in a virtual conference on "Best Practices in Counter-Terrorism in North Africa", co-organized by the NATO Strategic Direction Southern Hub (NSDS-Hub) and Three Stones International (TSI).

The virtual meeting gathered a diverse group of leading experts on counterterrorism, including parliamentarians, military experts, policy advisors, civil society actors, and researchers to share their insights on the key causes leading to terrorism in the Sahel and North Africa, and then to jointly identify solutions and effective counterterrorism measures. On this occasion, Hon. Marianne Amir Azer (Egypt) contributed to the discussion on behalf of PAM and the Assembly’s Special Parliamentary Committee on Counterterrorism.

Experts highlighted several issues, including how effective counterterrorism policies in North Africa have been largely successful in recent years. However, this has led to the shifting of jihadists’ focus further South towards the Sahel and as far as Mozambique, where the situation is very alarming. 

Hon. Azer raised her concern that global jihadist forces, like ISIL and Al-Qaeda, are increasingly active across Africa. She noted several factors that jihadist movements are exploiting in this region, namely conflicts, including low-intensity local conflicts; governance vacuums and weak state institutions, particularly in the Sahel; the proliferation of small arms and light weapons; and use of new technologies for malicious purposes. 

Hon. Azer further stressed that environmental degradation and lack of socio-economic development, coupled with worrying demographic trends, have detrimental impacts on economies and food security in the region. This leads to the erosion of social cohesion and the increase of instability, insecurity, and migration flows, all of which are setting a fertile ground for extremists.

Hon. Azer highlighted the importance of strong legal frameworks in the fight against terrorism. She noted the role of PAM in supporting its member parliaments in aligning their actions with the UN Counterterrorism strategy, promoting the adaptation of Security Council resolutions into national laws, and harmonizing legislation to foster international cooperation in tracking and prosecuting terrorists.

She further stressed that in order to deny terrorists further opportunities, we need to ensure that people in our region enjoy peace, security, trust in state institutions, rule of law, human rights, environmental protection, economic opportunity, a culture of tolerance and a life of dignity.

PAM views NATO as a critical partner for the success of a comprehensive international effort to counter terrorism. The fruitful exchange between legislators, experts, military, academia and civil society further adds to a common understanding of the root causes leading to terrorism and contributes to the shaping f a comprehensive strategy to effectively address the threat.//



Issued on: 25/11/2020

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