The inaugural 2018 Global Security Forum was held in Doha, Qatar from 30-31 October 2018. The event convened officials and experts from over 60 countries, which included Ministers, Ambassadors, heads of intelligence agencies, counter-terrorism practitioners, policy analysts, human rights experts, academics, researchers, internationally recognized journalists, and members of the film industry. Individual attendees represented numerous countries, from Mali to Malaysia, China to Canada, and everywhere in between. The Forum was was live-streamed by Al Jazeera and was simultaneously translated between Arabic and English, to ensure the conversation was accessible to those in the region or watching on satellite television across the globe.
The 2018 Global Security Forum heard powerful testimony on the need to focus on the drivers of terrorism and find ways to protect and support vulnerable communities with programs designed to increase their resilience and cohesion. The Forum highlighted the need for governments and civil society organizations to work closely together, not just to identify and address the problem of foreign fighters and returnees, but also to implement plans and programs that uphold the rule of law and observe human rights.
The discussions over the course of the Forum identified a need for better data and higher quality research in support of a more developed international policy framework for dealing with foreign fighters and returnees. Without proper data and research, counter-terrorism responses could even exacerbate the radicalization cycles the international community is trying to avoid. There is a dire need to understand the research gaps in order to build a solid evidence base for policy interventions. Most importantly, the Forum recognized the key role that communities play in addressing the threat of any future waves of foreign fighters and in dealing with the difficulty of absorbing and reintegrating returnees.
The findings of the 2018 Global Security Forum where shared at various international fora:
2018 Addendum to the 2015 Madrid Guiding Principles
The findings from the 2018 Global Security Forum were included in the 2018 Addendum to the 2015 Madrid Guiding Principles. The discussions and issues raised during the 2018 Forum contributed to the negotiations of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in the development of the Addendum to the Madrid Guiding Principles. The Committee and its Executive Directorate drew on their ongoing dialogue and engagement with the research community, including exchanges during theForum on Returning Foreign Fighters.
Taking place at United Nations Headquarters on 13 December 2018, a Special Meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on “Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017): Review of the Madrid Guiding Principles” took place. The Soufan Center was invited to participate in a session on 'Global Research Perspectives on Cross-Cutting Trends, Issues, Developments, and Threats,'. Representing The Soufan Center, Ali Soufan briefed the United Nations Security Council and shared the findings and recommendations from the Forum on Returning Foreign Fighters.
The Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations and CTED organized a briefing “Perspectives of CTED’s Global Research Network (GRN) and the Forum on Returning FTFs in Advance of the Review of the Madrid Guiding Principles.”
The Soufan Center was honored to participate in a roundtable discussion at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, on 'How to Effectively Fight Terrorist Threats,' hosted by Member of the European Parliament Ramona Mănescu. The findings from the 2018 Global Security Forum were presented in Brussels.
Presenting to the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF)
On 12 March 2019, the “Foreign Terrorist Fighters” (FTF) Working Group held a Plenary Meeting in
Malaga, Spain on the margins of the GCTF Coordinating Committee meeting. The Soufan Center briefed on the outcomes of the Forum on Returning Foreign Fighters, held in October 2018 in Doha, Qatar.
Presenting to the Global Coalition Against Daesh/ISIS
The Soufan Center was honored to present at the Global Coalition Against Daesh/ISIS Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group Meeting held in Ankara, Turkey, on 7 May 2019. The Soufan Center briefed on the outcomes and recommendations of the Forum on Returning Foreign Fighters, held in October 2018 in Doha, Qatar.