Terrorism and Organised Crime

Terrorism and organised crime are among the leading global threats of our times.

The last 10 years have seen an unprecedented growth in global terrorist networks and transnational criminal organisations. The complexity of these 21st century threats reflect the dark side of globalisation which has empowered these groups to cooperate in real time and worldwide at an unprecedented scale. The growing range of criminal actors, include: violent political extremists, terrorists, war lords, globally networked insurgents and transnational criminal groups. They are fueling corruption and eroding state legitimacy. State fragility is becoming endemic, with no fewer than one-third of the states in the United Nations earning a “high warning” or worse in the Fragile States Index.

These criminal global actors currently have the ability to control land and hold entire cities hostage, mixing terroristic and criminal factors, exchanging know-how and developing hybrid modus operandi. Terrorists are also increasingly strategic in their ability to conduct military, economic, social and psychological operations.

There is a growing global consensus that governments can no longer rely on countering these threats with traditional security strategies and policies. Terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram require not only security-based counter-terrorism measures downstream, but also systematic steps to counter the appeal of violent extremism upstream, in order to address the underlying conditions that drive individuals to radicalise and join extremist groups.

In order to address this, the GCSP works closely with international partners to focus on systematic efforts to counter the appeal of violent extremism and criminality using several methods: executive education, dialogue and policy analysis. The Centre places particular emphasis on preventing violent extremism (PVE) and countering violent extremism (CVE) and  – specifically focuses on how violent extremism in general, and terrorists groups in particular, are evolving.

In the area of executive education, the terrorism and organised crime cluster collaborates with global stakeholders in designing tailored courses on preventing violent extremism and helping countries to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2178 by providing policymakers and practitioners with the right tools to build and designing better national CVE/PVE strategies. The GCSP conducts several courses a year on Designing National Strategies on Preventing Violent Extremism as well as with partners. In practical terms, the cluster organises conferences and dialogue events with specific stakeholders to design new strategies on preventing and countering violent extremism.

In order to address the growing hybrid threat of terrorism and organised crime and the growing insecurity due to terrorism attacks. The GCSP has recently launched a new course on Securing Global Cities. The course focuses on problems that Cities worldwide are now facing - rapid urbanisation, population growth and growing insecurity due to crime and terror. The course is designed to equip government and metropolitan leaders, community leaders and corporations with the information they need to create secure and thriving cities.

The GCSP has also recently jointly created along with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland an online Platform for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) – an interactive tool designed to engage online collaboration between practitioners - international organizations, local NGOs, civil society, governments, private sector, media, and academic researchers – actively working on PVE in Africa and the Middle East. Our goal in providing this virtual community on PVE is to help practitioners to share experiences, identify synergies, and learn more about activities or events taking place now or in the past, and helping them to stay informed about forthcoming events. The platform is also designed to help build upon the academic work that is already being done in the field and to further develop innovative and sustainable solutions to prevent violent extremism. This online PVE platform offers an interactive space to be accessed on request and approved by administrators.

ACCESS: You can access the online platform PVE through the following link: https://pveplatform.forumbee.com

For any questions about the PVE platform, please contact directly the platform through the administrator - pve.platform@gcsp.ch

Finally, the terrorism and organised crime cluster takes an active role in examining emerging security challenges in the field of terrorism and violent extremism through cutting-edge research.


Dr Christina Schori Liang
Senior Programme Advisor and Senior Fellow, Emerging Security Challenges Programme; Terrorism and Organized Crime Cluster Leader

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