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Establishment a UNOCT Program Office headquartered in Morocco for Counter-Terrorism and Training in Africa

The Kingdom of Morocco and the United Nations signed on October 6, 2020, a headquarters Agreement for the establishment in Morocco of the Program Office for Counter-Terrorism and Training in Africa of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). The Signing Ceremony of this agreement took place, via videoconference, under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita and the Secretary General of the United Nations Office for Counter Terrorism, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov.In this regard, the Secretary General of the United Nations Office for Counter Terrorism, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov highlighted that the setting up of this office in Morocco constitutes a natural step in reinforcing the Kingdom’s Counter-Terrorism Capacity in Africa, in reason of Morocco’s leadership at the level of UN actions for Counter-Terrorism and the urgent need for a better coordination to reach effective results. According to Mr. Voronkov, this new center is a very innovative structure that will help neighboring countries and African States to upgrade their counter-terrorism activities, making them more efficient. It is worth highlighting that this institution will be in charge of coordinating Counter-Terrorism activities in the region, especially in the sub-Saharan Africa, where in view of the Office’s Secretary General, it is a region of concern due to the very rapid spread of terrorism.For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates underlined that the Kingdom is committed to collaborate with this office to create a dynamic portfolio of cutting-edge training that evolves and adapts to the mission in perpetual change and increasingly difficult to prevent, detect and prosecute terrorist activities. He added that in order to overcome this challenge, Morocco’s actions have to be in line with the needs of African States and complementary to the various initiatives launched by these countries, developed within solidarity based approaches. The UNOCT Program Office for Counter-Terrorism, the first of its kind in Africa, according to the Minister, aims to strengthen the capacity of member States through the development of national training programs in the fight against terrorism.In this respect, the Minister recalled that these acts increased especially in the Sahel region, being the scene of the most significant upsurge in violence, where the acts of Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin and Daesh have increased sevenfold since mid-2017, pointing out also to the alarming increase in the victims’ numbers of the Boko Haram and Daesh terrorist attacks. Mr. Bourita stressed, on this occasion, that Africa needs more than ever immediate and determined action to stabilize the continent, consolidate its security, and enable it to focus on sustainable development.The establishment of this office comes as a result of a long period of hard work and intervenes at a moment when the African continent is facing seriously the scourge of Terrorism, as the Continent has seen these increasing by 31% since 2011, reaching 4,100 attacks in the first half of the current year, while the number of deaths due to terrorism jumped by 26% in one year (12,507 compared to 9,944 in the first six months of 2019).This new international recognition of Morocco’s efforts in the field of fighting against terrorism and violent extremism comes few days after the renewal of Morocco’s mandate as co-chair of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum for the third consecutive time.