NEW YORK – The UAE called for stronger, strategic multilateral partnerships to counter terrorist narratives around the world at the UN High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States. H.E. Salem AlZaabi, Head of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UAE and Head of the UAE delegation to the Conference, delivered the statement, underlining the serious challenges posed by cross-border terrorism today.

He stated that countering terrorism in all its forms required the development of integrated and comprehensive strategies – with prevention at its core. He iterated that since the founding of the nation, the UAE has committed to not only countering terrorism, but to also preventing extremism.

H.E. AlZaabi stressed the importance of eliminating radicalism by challenging extremist narratives, particularly at a time when terrorist groups have been developing methods to spread their ideologies by exploiting Internet and social media platforms for recruitment and attracting young individuals.

Regarding the role of youth in preventing extremism, H.E. AlZaabi stated that youth are integral to developing practical and innovative solutions to challenges they encounter today. He added that the UAE is working to ensure that youth are immune from terrorist narratives, while also placing them at the forefront of national efforts to prevent extremism. To that end, the UAE’s Minister of State for Youth, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, is implementing policies that respond to the needs of youth through a national plan that was developed by youth themselves. In addition, the UAE has established youth councils at all levels of government to serve as a platform to exchange views and ideas on addressing matters relating to youth.

H.E. AlZaabi highlighted the UAE’s continuous efforts to prevent extremism on social media platforms at national, regional, and international levels, including co-chairing the Strategic Communications Working Group of the Global Coalition Against Daesh, along with the United States and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, he underscored the work of Sawab Center in Abu Dhabi, which focuses on raising awareness against extremist narratives and propaganda by Daesh.

He noted the International Conference for the Criminalization of Cyber Terrorism, which was held in May 2017 in Abu Dhabi, and concluded with the Abu Dhabi Declaration for Criminalizing Cyber-Terrorism. The outcome aimed to create a coordinated international action to address cyber-terrorist threats.

H.E. AlZaabi reiterated the UAE’s aspiration to create peaceful societies and building better futures for youth around the world – noting that countering terrorist narratives was at the heart of ensuring long-term peace.