Photo credit: The U.S. Army, “mali,” CC BY 2.0.

An Initial Mapping of International Counterterrorism Efforts

Background & Objective

Although terrorism has been a matter of international concern since at least the 1930s, in recent decades the number, range, and scope of intergovernmental entities and initiatives with a counterterrorism component or focus have grown significantly. Without discounting the importance of national-level anti-terrorism bodies, we wanted to develop a resource—for diplomats, policy-makers, researchers, journalists, and anyone else interested in this thematic area—that maps the array of counterterrorism efforts at the international level. Combined, these international counterterrorism efforts exert significant influence. 


We wanted the resource to be useful, concise, accurate, and visually engaging. We focused only on counterterrorism efforts in which two or more states were involved. We did not limit ourselves to entities with international legal personality. We divided up the entries (somewhat arbitrarily) according to a rough delineation based on the geography of the state participants.

A team of PILAC research assistants—Carson Cook, Claire DiMario, and Svitlana Starosvit, all Harvard Law School students—undertook the research alongside PILAC Senior Researcher Dustin A. Lewis, who designed and implemented the resource. Finally, PILAC’s HLS Library Liaison, Jennifer Allison, provided information and library services support.

Our team uncovered dozens of (quasi- or formally institutionalized) intergovernmental bodies, initiatives, associations, forums, and other efforts that had at least some counterterrorism element or focus. These efforts span political, economic, cultural, legal, technological, and military domains. For each international effort, we tried to distill, without weighing in on the normative merits, its main anti-terrorism-related aspects. We also sought to provide, where available, information about the participants as well as resources to help readers find additional information. 

To help bring the international counterterrorism efforts to life, we included a photograph along with each entry. In selecting photographs, we attempted, first, to identify an image of the actual international counterterrorism effort as it was being undertaken. Where that was not available, we sought an image of the parent organization, a view of the location of the effort’s headquarters, or the like.

Depending on our capacity and the usefulness of this resource, we may continue to build it out, such as by updating and expanding existing entries or by adding new ones.

We welcome feedback at 

[Write-up last updated in March 2015]