Substantive progress under the Christchurch Call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online has been announced at an event on the side lines of the United Nations General Assembly.

A fully resourced, fully staffed, legal entity is to be established by tech companies, with an expanded mandate to cover violent extremism as well as acts of terror.

Chair of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism Sheryl Sandberg delivered the tech companies’ plans to relaunch the consortium as an independent organisation.

New Zealand and France had also welcomed 32 new countries and international organisations as new supporters of the Christchurch Call to Action – bringing the total number of country and company supporters to 58.

At one of the most well-attended events of the first day of UN Leaders’ week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also unveiled a new crisis response plan, shared between Governments and Tech companies.

“I don’t want any other country to be placed in the situation New Zealand was in the minutes, hours and days after the attack in Christchurch, when we were left scrambling to respond to and remove livestreamed hate,” she told leaders. 

The event was hosted alongside His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan, French President Emmanuel Macron and the UN Office of Counter Terrorism.

To a full house of Heads of Government/State, tech company leaders and civil society representatives, Ardern said no one country or company could fix the problem on its own. 

The progress that had been made was a testament to collaboration.

“In only four short months we have – collectively – made real strides toward both preventing and responding to the very real harm caused by terrorist and violent extremist content online.”

The work builds on the priority areas directed by the Prime Minister at the Call’s establishment in Paris on May 15 – two months after a gunman stormed two Christchurch mosques and livestreamed the murder of 51 people.

The announcements on September 23 were the result of close collaboration with New Zealand’s founding partner, France, tech companies and other Call supporters.  New Zealand’s response was by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with input from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

New Zealand’s diplomatic achievement laid the foundations for further engagement and collaboration between Governments and tech.

“This is particularly important as the same capability we have developed working on the Call, can be deployed and adapted to achieve other diplomatic objectives,” said Acting Deputy Secretary, Multilateral, Victoria Hallum.

“We have shown that, when required, we can use our policy skills and diplomatic trade craft to build an ambitious NZ-led initiative with great success.”

Leaders at the Christchurch Call event