Recruitment of fighters, procurement of weapons and explosives, communications between cells: most terrorism cases involve some cross-border element. The transportation and technology that terrorist groups use is often cheap and widely available. Yet, most responses of authorities to terrorism stop at the border, because that’s where state jurisdiction ends.

A vital component to prevent and counter terrorism is cooperation between countries across borders. For example, this can be sharing real-time information, exchange of evidence and witness statements, or request for extradition.

To ensure effective and efficient international and regional cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism, we facilitate cooperation among Member States worldwide. The United Nations is often well placed to act as a neutral broker of such cooperation.

In close consultation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate, we promote international cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism, and mutual legal assistance in particular. We do so by:

  • Delivering technical assistance to Member States, upon request, including training of prosecutors, judges and other relevant officials involved in international cooperation
  • Upgrading existing networks of central authorities to encompass the ones responsible for counter terrorism matters and update the UNODC Directory of Competent National Authorities
  • Identifying and raising awareness on good practices on international judicial and law enforcement cooperation in counter-terrorism matters
  • Bring together experts from central authorities and intergovernmental organizations to update model legislative provisions, such as the UNODC Model Law on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and the Model Mutual Legal Assistance Resources
  • Developing tools, such as the Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across BordersData Disclosure Framework (DDF) and Model Request Forms for data preservation and disclosure available at the SHERLOC Electronic Evidence Hub


UNODC’s work on international cooperation in counter-terrorism matters is based on:


We support informal networks of national focal points and efforts to establish national central authorities to facilitate international cooperation. For example, we supported the Regional Judicial Platforms for Sahel and the Indian Ocean Commission Countries and the Multi-Agency Task Force to strengthen international cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (more information available in Arabic, English and French).

Similar cooperation networks include the European Judicial Network | Eurojust | Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition of the Organization of American States | Ibero-American Legal Assistance Network (IberRed)


The Multi-Agency Task Force (MATF) to support cooperation among countries in the Middle East and North Africa helped foil a terrorist plot. Information shared through the Task Force by national authorities led to arrests and the seizure of precursor chemicals for an improvised explosive device (IED) which was destined for use in a terrorist attack.


Our work on supporting international cooperation has been supported by contributions from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.