Foreign Terrorist Fighters Knowledge Hub

Launched at a Ministerial Plenary Meeting in New York on 22 September 2011, the GCTF is an informal, a-political, multilateral CT platform that has strengthened the international architecture for addressing 21st century terrorism. Central to the Forum’s overarching mission is the promotion of a strategic, long-term approach to counter terrorism and the violent extremist ideologies that underpin it. As an action-oriented forum, the GCTF holds regular meetings focused on producing framework documents (good practices and memoranda) and the necessary materials and tools for policy-makers and practitioners to develop CT civilian capabilities, national strategies, action plans and training modules.

One of the key goals of the Forum is to support and catalyze implementation of the United Nations (UN) Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, reviewed in June 2016, and the UN CT framework more broadly, including the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism presented to the UN General Assembly in January 2016. In pursuance of this goal, the GCTF works closely with UN bodies, and with other relevant international and regional organizations, to reinforce, complement, and support multilateral CT and CVE efforts.

To that end, the GCTF continues to provide a dedicated forum for national CT officials and practitioners to meet with their counterparts from key states in different regions to share experiences, expertise, strategies, tools, capacity needs, and capacity-building programs. It prioritizes civilian capacity-building in areas such as rule of law, border management, and CVE. Additionally, the GCTF works with partners around the globe to identify critical civilian needs to effectively counter terrorism, mobilize the necessary expertise and resources to address such needs, and enhance global CT cooperation.


Through integrating ‘Trends and Dynamics’ into the priority areas, the FTF Working Group aims to create a better understanding of the FTF phenomenon, anticipate new developments and identify appropriate responses. In order to enhance collective understanding of the trends and dynamics of the FTF phenomenon, the WG FTF decided to create a mechanism to gather, analyse and report FTF-related data and statistics.

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) provides analytical support to the FTF Working Group and assists its Co-Chairs in providing such a mechanism by developing a “knowledge hub” on the FTF phenomenon that brings together state-of- the-art quantitative and qualitative data and analysis, in order to keep up with the trends and changing dynamics of this phenomenon. In the following outline the nature and functions of the GCTF FTF knowledge hub will be further clarified, as well as its use for the GCTF Members.

The FTF knowledge hub is a mechanism that enables the GCTF Members to learn systematically by sharing data and exchanging experiences and good practices. The knowledge hub assists GCTF Members by connecting, sharing and developing initiatives and expertise in a defined and moderated environment.

The knowledge hub provides the GCTF Members and other interested States with up-to-date information on FTF data and statistics, the latest research reports on FTF related topics, as well as references to the responses and legal measures that governments have enacted so far. Furthermore, through analysis conducted by the ICCT, the FTF knowledge hub generates trend analyses and input for policy oriented discussions.

In short, the purpose of the GCTF FTF knowledge hub is fourfold:

  • Facilitate the exchange and analysis of data and information to identify the ongoing trends and dynamics within the FTF phenomenon;
  • Provide insight and better understanding of the FTF phenomenon;
  • Inspire the development FTF-focused policies;
  • Catalyse further implementation of The Hague – Marrakech Memorandum.

Co-chaired by Morocco and the Netherlands, the “Foreign Terrorist Fighters” (FTF) Working Group addresses the ongoing and salient challenges presented by the FTF phenomenon. The Working Group was established following an initiative led by Morocco and the Netherlands, and which led to the development of The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon (The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum). The Working Group provides a critical platform for developing practical initiatives to help coordinate and build on efforts at the national-, regional- and international-levels to stem the flow of FTFs and address the complex issues related to their return. The FTF Working Group initiatives are guided by The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum, other framework documents, the Working Group’s work plan, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (UNSCR 2178).

The current areas of focus of the FTF Working Group are:

  • Developing practical recommendations across two cross-cutting themes, namely trends and dynamics, and outreach and engagement, and in three areas in particular: (i) strategic communications; (ii) border control; and (iii) criminal justice and rehabilitative measures.
  • A new Dialogue on Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Radicalization to Violence in Central Asia Initiative, led by the United States, under the auspices of the FTF Working Group. This initiative will assist Central Asian States in addressing the challenges of countering FTFs in their region.
  • Promoting implementation of the Addendum to The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon that focuses on particular ways and means to address the specific challenges of returning FTFs (RFTFs), including their rehabilitation and reintegration, as part of the GCTF’s Life Cycle Initiative.
  • Further development of the FTF Knowledge Hub, a web-based source of information on FTF trends and dynamics.
  • A Catalogue of FTF-related Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and Returnee Programs – a collection of existing national programs – that will serve as a resource for implementing The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum. Hedayah will manage the catalogue as a living document and facilitate engagement with interested states.