OSLO, 23 May (Office of Counter-Terrorism) — The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Oslo Governance Centre started a two-day meeting today on preventing violent extremism titled “Assessing Progress Made, and the Future of Development Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism”, in partnership with Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo. The sessions will include discussions on lessons learned on the role of the media, women and youth in preventing violent extremism, as well as effective reintegration of disengaged terrorist fighters.
The objective of this global meeting on preventing violent extremism is to assess progress made on research, programming and policy support since the last meeting, held in 2016, and to offer new recommendations aimed at enhancing UNDP’s future efforts and the global drive towards preventing violent extremism research, policy development and programmatic interventions as part of the UNDP Global Programme on Development Solutions for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (2017‑2020). The meeting brought together leading policymakers, practitioners, national Governments, civil society organizations, multilateral institutions, academics and think tanks from a wide array of countries.
“Security responses alone are not enough to tackle the root causes of violent extremism. When young people cannot find jobs, experience cycles of conflict and poverty, and see no hope for their future, they are very susceptible to joining extremist groups,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “By working together, the United Nations counter-terrorism and development arms can tackle the complementary issues of risk, response, and prevention of violent extremism, and better support countries in addressing this growing threat and achieving their development aspirations”.
United Nations assistance in preventing violent extremism is a demand-driven process with a growing number of Member States from all regions of the world requesting that the Organization support them through the sharing of good practices and concrete capacity-building projects. More than two thirds of the initiatives of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism are dedicated to addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. Some 15 United Nations entities, including UNDP, are implementing more than 260 preventing violent extremism projects in 84 countries.
The United Nations promotes an “all of society” approach to preventing violent extremism in order to be more effective and to make a greater impact by drawing on the expertise and capacities of civil society organizations, the private sector, think tanks, as well as Governments at the national and local levels.
Reiterating that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, ethnicity or race, Vladimir Voronkov, head of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, said that preventing conflict and sustainable development are the first line of defence against terrorism. He stressed the need to better coordinate United Nations efforts in order to avoid overlap and duplication while maximizing the impact of efforts on the ground.
In that regard, Mr. Steiner and Mr. Voronkov signed a memorandum of understanding on the margins of the meeting in order to enhance collaboration between United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and UNDP. Concretely, the memorandum of understanding will improve cooperation in three key strategic areas: information sharing, outreach and support for the development and implementation of national preventing violent extremism action plans for requesting Member States.
Mr. Voronkov praised the support of UNDP’s country teams through their indispensable field knowledge and close established relationships with Governments. “I hope through the conclusion of the new memorandum of understanding, we will further strengthen our common efforts to support Member States more effectively and make a real difference in the field,” he said.
Mr. Voronkov and Mr. Steiner held joint bilateral meetings with senior Norwegian Government officials and paid tribute to the victims of the 2011 terrorist attack.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism was established in June 2017 to provide leadership to the implementation of General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates, to enhance coordination and coherence, and to strengthen the delivery of the United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States (www.un.org/counterterrorism)
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