UNOCT: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Partner of the Month


The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) was established on 15 June 2017 through the adoption of a UN General Assembly Resolution. Mr. Vladimir Voronkov was appointed as its first Under-Secretary-General. The creation of the Office is considered the first major institutional reform undertaken by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres following his report on the Capability of the United Nations to assist the Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Across the globe, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, UNOCT scaled up its efforts to help Member States achieve a world free from terrorism by adapting and innovating to meet this challenging moment. In the unprecedented 2020 environment, promoting multilateral cooperation remained at the centre of UNOCT’s work. UNOCT has Five main functions:

  • Provide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General from across the UN system;
  • Enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Global Counter-Terrorism Compact entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global CT Strategy;
  • Strengthen delivery of UN counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to the Member States;
  • Improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for UN counter-terrorism efforts; and
  • Ensure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the UN system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy

United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre

The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) was established in 2011 to promote international counter-terrorism cooperation and support Member States in the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through a voluntary contribution of the Government of Saudi Arabia. The General Assembly welcomed the establishment and encouraged the Member States to collaborate with the Centre. The work of UNCCT is guided by its Five-Year Programme , which is aligned with the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. With the establishment of UNOCT  on 15 June 2017, UNCCT was transferred, along with its staff and resources to this new Office.

UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter-terrorism. Through its adoption by consensus in 2006, all UN Member States agreed for the first time to a common strategic and operational approach to fighting terrorism.

The Strategy does not only send a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestations but it also resolves to take practical steps, individually and collectively, to prevent and combat terrorism. Those practical steps include a wide array of measures ranging from strengthening state capacity to counter terrorist threats to better coordinating the UN System’s counter-terrorism activities.

UNOCT and South-South Cooperation

The benefits of South-South cooperation in terms of peer learning from countries with similar challenges have been noted during exchanges at training workshops organized by UNCCT and during engagements with Permanent Missions. Many Member States have also offered to share their knowledge and experiences in counter-terrorism in a sustained manner, including by offering training courses on specific counter-terrorism challenges, providing financial and monetary cooperation as well as in-kind contributions

UNCCT promotes South-South Cooperation (SSC) in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism (CT/PVE) as a dynamic modality of international cooperation especially since its scale, scope and number of actors has expanded through  its groundbreaking global project entitled “Enhancing south-south exchange of expertise in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, as and when conducive to terrorism (CT/PVE) between experts from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The Project is funded through a generous contribution from the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund, established with support from the Government of China. Building on this project UNCCT facilitates exchanges of expertise between countries from the global South, which innovative and successful southern-generated policies and initiatives respond to the specific challenges faced by developing countries in tackling terrorism and the conditions conducive to its spread. The project will also help build new partnerships, strengthen institutional and technical capacities, respond to the specific CT/PVE challenges of developing countries and enhance cooperation.

UNCCT is undertaking the project in two stages, which consist of a scoping phase and an implementation phase. The scoping phase included consultations with interested countries and research to map and identify relevant good practices in CT/PVE, experts who can act as Focal Points as well as Centers of Excellence to promote the programme, define its activities with national authorities, and lay the groundwork for the implementation phase.

This scoping phase has already revealed several good practices among countries of the Global South that fit within the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism strategy and are in line with human rights as well as international agreements, treaties and protocols. It has also revealed the existence of significant exchanges through regional groupings. There is a willingness to scale up these practices on bilateral, regional and inter-regional levels.  Countries are also beginning to institutionalize SSC into new and existing governments’ structures, some with a specific focus on CT/PVE, which offers further opportunities.

The second phase of the project is seeing the development and operationalization of an on-line knowledge sharing platform and Forum of Experts; the publication of a handbook of CT/PVE Southern initiatives and the mainstreaming of South-South Cooperation in UNOCT and Global Compact Entities’ activities and policies.


  • The capacity of experts from assisted Member States to design and implement policies, frameworks and mechanisms to CT/PVE, based on lessons learned, good practices and strategies from other developing countries, is strengthened.
  • CT/PVE related exchanges between experts from different regions are improved.
  • Information and access to CT/PVE expertise available in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean are enhanced.

Beyond the implementation of the project, UNOCT/UNCCT has developed a programme to facilitate the mainstreaming of South-South Cooperation in OCT and Global Compact Entities activities and policies.

UNOCT Online Network of Southern Experts

As a follow-up to the Expert Meeting on Promoting South-South cooperation in CT/PVE held in November 2019 in New York, and as one of the outputs of the above-mentioned project, an online network of Southern experts and stakeholders is currently being developed on South-South Galaxy with the support of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.  The online network will serve as a virtual space for voluntary knowledge exchange and peer learning, promoting horizontal cooperation on CT/PVE and creating opportunities for continued dialogue among countries from the global South.

Featured News/Updates

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UNCCT Annual Report 2019

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Handbook: Children Affected by the Foreign-Fighter Phenomenon: Ensuring a Child Rights-Based Approach

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Reference Guide: Developing National and Regional Action Plans to Prevent Violent Extremism

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