The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) has been launched in Geneva on 18 November 2014 to support local community-level initiatives in the areas of education, youth, women’s advocacy, public awareness, social entrepreneurship and vocational training, aimed at strengthening resilience against violent extremist agenda. The idea of the Fund was mooted at the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) meeting on the sidelines of the 68th UNGA in New York in September 2013.
The first meeting of the Governing Board of the GCERF was held in Geneva on 17-18 November to take decisions on the operating modalities of the Fund. About sixty representatives from more than 20 countries, EU, UN, civil society, private sector attended the Fund meeting. Bangladesh delegation to the meeting was led by the Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque who was selected as a member of the 15-member Governing Board of the GCERF.
The Board has adopted a multi-stakeholder constituency model having representatives from donors, recipient countries, private sector, CSOs, research organizations. The other members of the Board are from Switzerland, USA, Canada (UK-alternate), Australia (NZ-alternate), Qatar, Mali, Nigeria, Morocco, European Commission, Women Without Borders, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT)-The Hague, the Soufan Group, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
The Board has confirmed Dr. Khalid Koser as the Executive Director of the GCERF Secretariat located in Geneva, and Ms. Carol Bellamy (formed Executive Director of UNICEF) as the Chair of the Board. The GCERF Secretariat has targeted to raise a total of US$200 million over the next 10 years to fund projects in various countries across the world to combat violent extremism.
It is expected that at the initial phase, GCERF’s core funding will be made available for projects in Bangladesh (along with Mali, Morocco and Nigeria). In his opening statement, reiterating Bangladesh’s policy of ‘zero tolerance’ in addressing terrorism and extremism, Foreign Secretary expressed his appreciation to the GCERF Secretariat for being transparent in the Fund’s formation process.
He mentioned that Bangladesh is facing two major challenges to development such as climate change and violent extremism. He added that Bangladesh has been addressing the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism through various national initiatives and is in a position to share its experience with the international community.