UNODC holds a national consultative meeting with counter-terrorism focal points of Ghana


ACCRA The threat of terrorism in West Africa has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region.  Terrorist groups blame national governments for the impact the health crisis has had on populations, resulting in several high-profile attacks in Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. Official border closures have not been able to prevent the threat of terrorism from spilling over into neighbouring countries

Despite the COVID-19 emergency, UNODC continues to support Member States using technological tools to hold virtual meetings and provide technical assistance through activities aimed at maintaining its actions in supporting national criminal justice systems to respond to terrorist threats.

The Terrorism Prevention Branch of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC/TPB) held a national virtual meeting with focal points on counter-terrorism from Ghana, under the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum West Africa Working Group (GCTF WAWG) project (2020-2021), on 25 September 2020, in Accra, Ghana.

“Several of the coastal States along the Gulf of Guinea have recently either witnessed attacks or identified the presence of terrorist groups in parts of their territory, in particular in remote border areas.  This security crisis is being aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has limited national response capacity, but also further radicalized the narrative of extremist groups. The need for robust strategies to prevent and counter those threats is more pressing than ever,” said the UNODC Regional Coordinator for the Prevention of Terrorism in West and Central Africa.

The UN Resident Coordinator of Ghana formally opened the meeting and highlighted the critical importance of discussing counter-terrorism measures given the dynamics affecting the West Africa region, and expressed support to the UNOC programme from the UN system entities working on related areas.  Partnerships with the International Office for Migration (IOM) will be further explored, among others.

The project seeks to build upon and complement UNODC/TPB’s ongoing cooperation and support to Ghana and to other Member States in the West Africa region.This one-day meeting with focal points from the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Ghana discussed key thematic areas and proposed concrete actions to further strengthen Ghana’s response to the growing terrorism threat.

“I want to commend both the Government of  Germany for its commitment and financial support to counter-terrorism in the region, and the Government of Ghana for all the efforts it has deployed in this area, including the creation of the Ministry of National Security, the adoption of relevant legislation, and the development of a National Counter-Terrorism Strategic framework,” added the regional coordinator of UNODC/TBP.

The meeting addressed priority topics identified by the GCTF WAWG and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate assessment report.  Those include gaps in legislation, support to the development of the national Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and on other challenges and needs identified in the report such as the threat posed by the foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2396 (2017); countering the financing of terrorism; border security management as well as incriminating incitement to terrorism leading to violent extremism.

This activity was funded by Germany and developed by UNODC/TPB