Preventing violent extremism

Prevention of violent extremism

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), through a Quick Impact Project, supports community radio in Gao, Mali. Photo: UN Photo/ Harandane Dicko


"There needs to be a renewed and sustained focus on prevention, including addressing the underlying conditions that cause young men and women to be lured by terrorism"

-- UN Secretary-General António Gutterres' remarks to the African Regional High-Level Conference on Counter Terrorism and Prevention of Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism

UN System Focal Point on PCVE

The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) was designated by the Secretary-General as the main focal point of the UN System for preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE) conducive to terrorism. UNOCT coordinates and complements the work of UN agencies in countries where they are supporting Member States in developing PCVE strategies and plans of action or related legislative and policy frameworks.

UNOCT provides capacity-building support to Member States and regional organizations on a broad range of PCVE issues, including:

  • Developing national and regional PCVE action plans
  • Prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons and rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders
  • Strategic communications to promote alternative and counter terrorist narratives
  • Engaging and empowering youth for PCVE
  • Education and skills development for PCVE
  • Strengthening the role of parliamentarians in PCVE
  • Leveraging sports and their values for PCVE

Working Group on PCVE

UNOCT chairs the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Working Group on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism and serves as the Secretariat to the Secretary-General’s High-Level Action Group on Preventing Violent Extremism to provide strategic level guidance to the PCVE work of the United Nations system. It derives its mandate from the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288), especially its Pillar I on Measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, the successive biennial review resolutions on the Strategy, as well as relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005), 2178 (2014), 2242 (2015), 2250 (2015), 2354 (2017), and 2396 (2017); and is guided by the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674) and its recommendations, in the context of the Global Strategy.

The main focus of the Working Group is to promote coordination and coherence in the work of the Global Compact entities, within their respective mandate, to support the PCVE efforts of Member States, with respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis, in line with international law, including human rights, humanitarian refugee law, and with an essential focus on gender equality and youth empowerment.

National and regional plans of action

National and Regional PCVE plans of action are practical frameworks to address the drivers of violent extremism conducive to terrorism through a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and coordinated approach. UNOCT’s Global PCVE policy assistance programme facilitates “all-of-UN” assistance to support requesting Member States and regional organizations in the design, development, and implementation of such action plans.

UNOCT is actively engaged in supporting requesting Member States in Central Asia, South-East Asia and West Africa and will expand its support to Member States in the Horn of Africa and South Asia in the future. This support is guided by the “Reference Guide on Developing National and Regional Action Plans to Prevent Violent Extremism” released in September 2018.

PVE resources