FAQ - Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism

Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism – The Way Forward 

Geneva, 7 and 8 April 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the UN do to prevent violent extremism?

Violent extremism affects all the 4 core areas (peace and security, humanitarian assistance, human rights and development) of the work of the UN, so all parts of the UN System have to work together on this issue.

In January 2016, the Secretary-General unveiled before the General Assembly a Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. The Plan aims to systematically apply preventive measures that address the drivers of violent extremism at the local, national, regional and global levels (see below).

Already 10 years ago, the General Assembly put in place the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is due to be reviewed in June. This review will consider the Plan of Action and set the course for the international community on addressing terrorism and violent extremism for the years to come.

This week's conference in Geneva was organized to help build political momentum in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the strategy and its review and to carry forward the debate that the General Assembly had in January on finding more areas of convergence on preventing violent extremism.

How is this actually making a difference on the ground?

International cooperation and action is essential to achieve lasting impact on the ground, where it matters most. Violent extremism is a transnational threat and no country or region alone will be able to defeat this scourge. Therefore, the conference this week is about the way forward on the PVE Plan and is above all, a call for unity and action. International cooperation is crucial, if we want to be effective against this threat. Individual countries and regions have something to offer in the way of successful measures or initiatives they have put in place to prevent violent extremism. Building on these lessons learned will improve our strategies and programmes at the global, regional, national and local levels.

What does the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism set out to achieve?

The Plan of Action provides a new framework to tackle violent extremism through preventive measures addressing the drivers of violent extremism. It identifies several push and pull factors driving individuals towards violent extremists and focuses on a practical and comprehensive, “All-of-Government” and “All-of-Society” approach. The Plan of Action provides more than 70 recommendations to Member States and the UN system to support them. One of the key recommendations of the Plan is for Member States to consider adopting National Plans of Action based on national ownership.

  • Seven priority areas for concrete action:
  • (1) Dialogue and conflict prevention
  • (2) Strengthening good governance, human rights and the rule of law
  • (3) Engaging communities
  • (4) Empowering youth
  • (5) Gender equality and empowering women
  • (6) Education, skill development and employment facilitation
  • (7) Strategic communications, the Internet and social media

How will these recommendations be implemented?

Most of the recommendations of the Plan of Action are addressed to Member States, who have the primary responsibility to prevent violent extremism. Addressing violent extremism at the local and national levels must be a top priority. That is why the PVE Plan recommends that each Member State considers adopting a National Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism based on national ownership. The UN will do everything it can to support Member States based on their request.

What are the next steps?

The General Assembly will review the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in June. This review will set the course of United Nations action on terrorism and violent extremism for many years to come. The Secretary-General has also asked the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) to bring the relevant UN agencies together to begin deliberations on the way forward on the Plan of Action. They will present concrete recommendations to the High Level PVE Action Group that will be convened in June upon the adoption of the Global Strategy review resolution.

What is the difference between Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)?

Over the past two decades, the international community has sought to address violent extremism primarily within the context of security-based counter-terrorism measures adopted to “counter” (CVE) the threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliated groups. This Plan is a call for a comprehensive approach encompassing not only essential security–based counter-terrorism measures but also systematic preventive steps (PVE) to address the factors that make individuals join violent extremist groups.

For more information about the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, visit bit.ly/PreventVE                                  #PreventVE