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Decolonizing Counter-terrorism: Alternatives Inside Transnational Governance

The place had been you on 9/11? This query, a standard chorus amongst individuals the world over captures the jarring impression the occasions of Sept 11, 2001 had on the worldwide consciousness. Nonetheless tragic the occasions had been, the following many years, encapsulated within the slogan, the ‘Conflict on Terror’, have left an indelible mark on our social and political consciousness, and innumerable casualties; targets of the ‘battle’, in each the International South and the West (Graff, 2021). Neo-colonial in nature, the ‘battle on terror’ led to lethal conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, army interventions in quite a few different states, weakened establishments and securitized people from ‘suspicious’ backgrounds (Graff, 2021). 20 years later it’s crucial to take inventory of efforts to counter terrorism and to know how world governance has advanced within the intervening years.

On this regard, the elevated position of transnational governance in an ever-globalizing world seems to be a key consider coordinating counter-terrorism efforts. Underneath the helm of the UN International Counter-Terrorism Technique this paper seeks to know how particular points of transnational governance, specifically transnational public-private partnerships and data networks have contributed to efforts to decolonize counter-terrorism whereas tackling the underlying drivers of violent extremism. Particularly, these points of transnational governance might be explored via the lens of prevention of violent extremism (PVE) frameworks, instead paradigm to state-centric interpretations of counter-terrorism. It will likely be demonstrated how via the usage of transnational public-private partnerships, the state is step by step disaggregating, making house for non-state actors to say their interpretations of actuality, particularly these actors based mostly in communities focused by PVE packages. Information networks contribute by disaggregating data manufacturing and together with a multiplicity of social, financial, political and cultural views beforehand unaccounted for. These points of transnational governance might be explored via the circumstances of the International Group Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) and the Resolve Community, as examples of a transnational public-private partnerships and a data community respectively. Thus, the analysis query of this essay might be conceived as the next: Can transnational governance in regard to counter-terrorism efforts be decolonized?

The UN International Counter-Terrorism Technique

Because it stands, transnational governance is uniquely positioned to answer the challenges of counter-terrorism. The UN International Counter-Terrorism Technique, adopted by the UN Normal Meeting in 2006, broadened assist for the UN counter-terrorism from beneath the only purview of the UN Safety Council which had dominated it since 2001, to the entire Meeting (Rosand, Millar & Ipe, 2008). Furthermore, the Meeting for the primary time agreed to handle situations which had been conducive to the unfold of terrorism, as a central a part of a technique to forestall terrorism. This key provision took the UN Technique past the Safety Council’s emphasis on punitive safety measures, incorporating multidimensional elements comparable to socioeconomic, political and cultural dimensions into an understanding of violence prevention methods (Rosand, Millar & Ipe, 2008). The UN Technique additionally made respect for human rights and promotion of the rule of legislation a core a part of its implementation, together with it as one in all its core pillars. Moreover, and central to its relevance to transnational governance, the UN Technique acknowledged the big variety of stakeholders, past the state, which might be required to realize a measure of effectiveness, with explicit consideration to the position of civil society organizations (CSOs) (Rosand, Millar & Ipe, 2008). The 4 pillars of the UN Technique are (Karlsrud, 2017):

  1. Tackling situations conducive to terrorism
  2. Stopping and combating terrorism
  3. Constructing international locations’ capability to fight terrorism and to strengthen the position of the United Nations system in that regard
  4. Making certain respect for human rights for all and the rule of legislation whereas countering terrorism.

Transnational safety governance

Relating to the relevance of the Technique in transnational governance, it’s related to quote literature on transnational safety governance. Such literature is essential because it gives a framework for analyzing safety cooperation exterior to the state (Hollis, 2010). Webber et al. present a concise definition of safety governance on this regard stating it’s, “the […] administration of points by a number of and separate authorities, the interventions of each private and non-private actors, formal and casual preparations, in flip structured by discourse and norms, and purposefully directed towards explicit coverage outcomes” (Webber et al., 2004, p. 4). Of observe is that this definition encapsulates non-state actors as properly, an space of governance traditionally off-limits on the subject of problems with safety and protection coverage (Hollis, 2010). Kirchner and Sperling contribute by theorizing that state authority is being diluted as a result of diffusion of authority away from the state, the obsolescence of conventional alliances, a broader idea of safety and the rise of different types of safety governance comparable to transnational public-private partnerships (Hollis, 2010). Community literature contributed by Anne-Marie Slaughter suggests the state adapts to those adjustments by supporting connections between governmental subunits, thereby disaggregating whereas nonetheless sustaining authority (Slaughter, 1997). Thus sovereignty could be considered a catalyst for community innovation in gentle of rising interdependence (Hollis, 2010).  

Transnational safety governance is uniquely positioned as a growth to answer the challenges of 21st century safety threats. The formation of the UN International Counter-Terrorism Technique invited the involvement of non-state actors to contribute to stopping violent extremism from going down. Analysis on how communities act to forestall, include, and bounce again from violent extremism display the broad vary of actors that play an element, from social employees to varsities, the native police, households (Abu-Nimer, 2018), companies and spiritual associations (Dalgaard-Nielsen, 2016). When such actors achieve coming collectively in trust-based networks, they’re able to make the most of a spread of sensible sources starting from supporting somebody with a job to providing non secular counselling. Nonetheless, for states to reap the benefits of this chance requires a paradigm shift from a conventional state-centric realpolitik perspective of safety to a paradigm which embraces the involvement of private and non-private actors in collaborating to sort out the underlying drivers of violent extremism and terrorism.

Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE)

Over the previous fifteen years the shift in direction of this new paradigm can’t be described with out an understanding of PVE. Whereas not with out its critics, the PVE framework brings collectively worldwide organizations, states and NGOs to develop a set of initiatives which give a holistic method to proactively deter people from adopting extremist outlooks (Schwartz, 2018). Interventions range from countering extremist narratives, to strengthening social resilience, to offering particular person assist to scale back dangers of radicalization. Actors prioritize the necessity for a extra complete method than was utilized up to now, with a specific deal with connecting with communities and offering various non secular discourses (Abu-Nimer, 2018). Furthermore, they develop tasks which contribute in a broad strategy to assuaging poverty, growing infrastructure, socioeconomic alternatives and democratic establishments. Whereas funded tasks might not be overtly PVE associated, they might be directed in direction of growth, state-building, displacement, with the expectation that the institution of upper socioeconomic and political requirements will contribute to a decrease risk of violent extremism (Abu-Nimer, 2018). The next sections will elaborate on the way wherein PVE has been adopted to 2 points of transnational governance, specifically transnational public-private partnerships and data networks.   

Transnational Public-Non-public Partnerships in Motion: The Case of GCERF

Transnational public-private partnerships on this analysis is outlined because the pooling of authority, competences and sources from each the private and non-private spheres, with an emphasis on stakeholder participation and voluntary cooperation in direction of a standard set of coverage issues (Solar, 2017). Transnational public-private partnerships constitutes a type of networked governance, based mostly on transnational networks which cooperate in devolved and versatile methods. The hybridity of such preparations are considered extra conducive than intergovernmental regimes to norm diffusion throughout different international locations (Solar, 2017). Furthermore Solar (2017) discovered data manufacturing to be a key advantage of transnational public-private partnerships, with collaboration amongst stakeholders, aiding policymakers in growing their sensible data and thereby their understanding of acceptable coverage responses.

This explains the involvement of the International Group Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), as a PVE multistakeholder public-private partnership headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. At a elementary degree GCERF gives grants to neighborhood led PVE initiatives which might be led by native companions. (Atamuradova & Zeiger, 2021). This funding acknowledges the acknowledged challenges native communities have in accessing sources in 3 ways (Koser, & Cunningham, 2016). Firstly, native actors lack the suitable networks to faucet into funds. They incessantly lack the attention or potential to achieve funding which is incessantly disbursed via states, donor companies or NGOs. Secondly, even when capable of entry funds, neighborhood initiatives typically usually are not in a position or eligible to obtain funds, as a result of different restrictions and organizational necessities comparable to monitoring and analysis packages. Thirdly, there exists a scarcity of belief between native communities and potential grantors, whether or not they be the state, NGOs or international donors. GCERF makes an attempt to bridge these divides by offering blended funds, that’s funds contributed by states and personal actors, beneath the GCERF flag, an try to realize neutrality and overcome the belief deficit (Koser, & Cunningham, 2016). Furthermore, GCERF engages with quite a lot of stakeholders from nationwide governments to civil society, the personal sector and native donors. A latest instance of this engagement was introduced on Dec 6, 2021, when GCERF launched the International Motion Platform (GCERF Outreach, 2021). This Platform goals to attach the 200+ grantees GCERF helps by enhancing capability constructing, peer to look studying, sharing of classes realized and good practices. 

GCERF as offered above is illustrative of the applying of transnational public-private partnerships as a response to the UN International Counter-Terrorism Technique. By growing a hybrid, networked method to PVE, GCERF has managed to switch the goals of the Technique right into a public-private partnership which disaggregates the pursuits of states, engages quite a lot of actors and gives house for extra community-oriented efforts, such because the involvement of civil society. Moreover, the International Motion Platform if realized will represent one other important part of transnational public-private partnerships; that’s, to be a discussion board for the manufacturing of data.

Information networks in Motion: The Case of the RESOLVE Community

Information networks are rising phenomenon in a world which more and more depends on the web and digital communications to answer world coverage dilemmas (Stone, 2015). Researchers and their organizations have reacted by turning into progressively transnational, responding to the wants of worldwide organizations, governments and world initiatives which depend on data-gathering, proof and evaluation to interpret ‘depraved’ coverage issues (Stone, 2015). The position of research-oriented establishments comparable to assume tanks, NGOs and college institutes are validated within the coverage community if and when they’re integrated right into a transnational coverage neighborhood and acknowledged by states or worldwide organizations.

The Resolve Community responds to those wants by positioning itself as “a worldwide consortium of researchers, analysis organizations, policymakers, and practitioners dedicated to empirically pushed, domestically outlined analysis on the drivers of violent extremism and sources of neighborhood resilience” (Resolve, n.d.). The Community options the collaboration of a large group of stakeholders, from academia to worldwide organizations, assume tanks and NGOs making it a hub evaluation of the drivers of violent extremism. The intention of the community is to boost and inform PVE coverage, analysis and observe (Resolve Community, n.d). Analysis is disseminated via studies, factsheets, briefs, compendiums and coverage notes. A deal with native initiatives is obvious of their analysis publications on native peacebuilding approaches, suggestions for native actors and energy to attach native analysis organizations and researchers with PVE stakeholders (USIP, n.d.). On this regard their annual occasion, the RESOLVE Community International Discussion board on the US Institute of Peace gives a pathway for multidisciplinary data and innovation to be constructed into PVE paradigms.

The UN International Counter-Terrorism Technique acknowledges the involvement of data networks as being crucial to countering the complicated and multifaceted coverage challenges posed by a rise in violent extremism – via the linking of political, social, financial and safety points (Carayannis & Weiss, 2021). It’s bolstered by quite a few studies from the UN which determine data administration and a higher capability to assume as being essential to the event of the UN as a complete, and peacebuilding operations specifically (Carayannis & Weiss, 2021). The Resolve Community is an instance of a community bridging the data hole, transferring data and affect to policymakers no matter location. Furthermore, the Community fulfills the mandate of the UN Technique by framing debates on PVE, offering justifications for various approaches, and catalyzing native or world coalitions to assist most well-liked insurance policies and advocate change (Carayannis & Weiss, 2021). Moreover, the Resolve Community as an epistemic neighborhood for PVE analysis, is especially well-equipped to affect coverage developments associated to the UN Technique as a result of the truth that in instances of uncertainty (i.e., when acts of terrorism are dedicated) the demand for the experience it gives will increase (Adler & Haas, 1992).

Transnational Governance and the Decolonization of Counter-terrorism

The query now turns into, have these developments in transnational governance contributed to the decolonization of counter-terrorism? There are quite a few views on colonialism, and it will be outdoors the purview of this text to advance each one. Due to this fact, for the needs of this analysis the angle of Alatas (2000) might be employed. Alatas (2000) superior the concept that there are six areas which outline imperialism. This paper finds the next 5 to be related to this analysis: (1) Exploitation and management by the subjugating energy over the individuals dominated. (2) There’s a type of steerage, for whom the individuals dominated are thought-about a disciple inside a tutelage system. Thus, they’re organized in direction of sure targets laid out by the subjugating energy. (3) The dominating energy expects the dominated to evolve to its group and its guidelines. (4) The dominated individuals play a secondary position in establishing the principles and group. (5) The existence of mental rationalization to civilize the individuals beneath subjugation. Subsequent this analysis will examine the PVE initiatives established by transnational public-private partnerships and data networks organizations via the lens of Alatas’s colonial framework.


I argue that there are a number of successes which have been achieved via the spillover of counter-terrorism efforts into transnational public-private partnerships and data networks. Firstly, the best success could lie within the disaggregation of tasks from the state, notably on areas of safety, subsequently decreasing exploitation and management exerted on the International South. The UN Technique invited the collective assist of the worldwide neighborhood to be introduced right into a discussion board for fixing the problem of violent extremism. Their assist paved the best way ahead for states to now not be the only signifier of what constitutes terrorism. The intervening years have given rise to quite a few non-state actors comparable to GCERF and the Resolve Community which have introduced a multidisciplinary perspective to the problem of violent extremism. Their continued progress suggests they’re efficiently difficult state-centric notions of safety, and whereas the state certainly not has given up all authority on the topic, it now has to vie for consideration with an array of networks and actors.

Secondly, I argue that the multiplicity of actors and views lower the dominance exerted by states. The popularity that nobody driver for radicalization exists, however reasonably a number of prospects; together with a scarcity of socio-economic alternatives, subpar governance, marginalization, discrimination, violations of human rights and the rule of legislation and extended battle, disrupts the securitized lens which has historically marginalized minority communities (Schwartz, 2018). The relevance of financial and social elements as being related to peace and safety has been enabled as a result of epistemic communities which spotlight related analysis (USIP, n.d.), and public-private partnerships which have acknowledged the central position of the neighborhood in combating violent extremism (GCERF Outreach, 2021). Furthermore, engagement with civil society has lowered the hegemony of Western states within the space of counter-terrorism, providing pathways for his or her voices to be heard in world boards. Thus, transnational governance has to a sure extent diminished the imperialism inherent in counter-terrorism insurance policies, disaggregated data manufacturing to contain native actors and engaged with communities in a extra inclusive approach.


Nonetheless, this isn’t to say challenges don’t exist. Uneven energy is obvious is all points of transnational public-private partnerships and data networks. Whereas there was higher engagement with native communities, mental and financial management rests firmly inside transnational organizations, most of that are headquartered in Western states and composed of Western governments, donors and NGOs (Abu-Nimer, 2018). Furthermore, there stays a definite type of steerage which sees grantees comply with standards set out by the donor group, within the case of GCERF, together with conforming to organizational guidelines and expectations (GCERF, 2021a). Whereas efforts are made to mood this via boards such because the International Motion Platform, in an effort to be taught from grantees, there isn’t a avoiding the uneven energy on the core of the connection.

As well as, Abu-Nimer (2018) suggests two additional challenges to PVE programming that are relevant from a neo-colonial perspective. Firstly, the query of securitization of PVE. Whereas GCERF and the Resolve Community have laid out inclusive visions for his or her programming, PVE efforts have been influenced by the contemporaneous counter-terrorism programming. Due to this fact, there exists a rigidity between PVE practitioners and communities relating to whether or not PVE packages are there to genuinely help them, or surreptitiously surveil them. Secondly, PVE packages are externally imposed, and face a problem in representing the communities’ pursuits whereas concurrently producing optimistic outcomes on their very own indicators of success. GCERF and the Resolve Community try and counter this via a neighborhood inclusive method nonetheless it’s not recognized to what diploma energy differentials nullify neighborhood priorities.


The query requested of this analysis was whether or not transnational governance in regard to counter-terrorism efforts could be decolonized? This analysis has demonstrated efforts being made in modern areas of transnational governance, specifically transnational public-private partnerships and data networks to shift the paradigm of counter-terrorism in direction of a extra inclusive, community-oriented mannequin, via the usage of PVE. The circumstances of GCERF and the Resolve Community efficiently display the continuing transformation of counter-terrorism programming via fashions which embrace a human safety framework. That’s to say, they promote people-centered, contextual and prevention-focused measures that cut back the probability of conflicts, overcome boundaries to growth and promote human rights for all (Abu-Nimer, 2018).

Whereas such a framework is much less colonial than a security-based framework, it will be laborious to disregard the centrality of capital to those buildings, which nonetheless flows predominantly from the West (GCERF, 2021b). As such, I argue that whereas not fulfilling all points of decoloniality, these organizations symbolize a brand new approach of approaching counter-terrorism. A technique which transforms counter-terrorism from the short-term to the long-term, incorporates deep-rooted drivers of extremism into frameworks and most significantly makes use of data of the local people. Going ahead it will likely be as much as these transnational entities to proceed to problem the hegemonic, state-centric paradigm of counter-terrorism, advocating for an alternate, inclusive PVE agenda which pushes the boundaries of what it means to decolonize counter-terrorism.


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