UNDP, partners to chart roadmap for tackling violent extremism in Central Asia

Jun 13, 2016

Tackling the structural causes of extremism requires development solutions, says Head of UNDP in Europe and CIS

Dushanbe – Combatting the rise of violent extremism in Central Asia and beyond will require long-term measures that include creating life opportunities for young people and a chance to serve and shape the future of their communities, said experts at a conference on the phenomenon that opened here today. 

“Comprehensive approaches are needed and there is a growing understanding that top-down, security-based approaches to countering violent extremism are not sufficient to deal with this complex phenomenon,” said Cihan Sultanoğlu, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS.

Opening the event with Sirodjidin Aslov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Republic of Tajikistan, Ms. Sultanoğlu said the focus should be on addressing “the structural causes and drivers of violent extremism – problems like economic and social exclusion, inequality and injustice, the rejection of cultural and religious diversity, shrinking civic space and restrictions on basic democratic freedoms.”

Radicalization and violent extremism are serious challenges to the governance, security and social structures of Central Asian societies, and are threatening to reverse development gains made over the past twenty years. 

The new development agenda which lasts until 2030 includes 17 goals, one of which targets the strengthening of inclusive, peaceful and just societies. Inclusive governance institutions which promote human rights can help tackle the sense of injustice felt by vulnerable groups in society.    

Extremist organizations prey on vulnerable members of society, such as the marginalized and unemployed, particularly among youth, and groom them accordingly. At particular risk of this type of vulnerability are economic migrants, such as Central Asian migrants to Russia, who by virtue of being in a foreign country are cut off from their regular social networks.

Entitled “Framing development solutions for the prevention of violent extremism,” the high-level event is co-organized by UNDP and Government of Tajikistan. The meeting brings together representatives of Central Asians governments, civil society, and international organizations. A significant number of guests also come from outside the region bringing the total number of participants to more than a hundred.

European Union Special Representative for Central Asia, Peter Burian and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Petko Draganov participated in the opening session.

During this three-day event participants will discuss methods and approaches for effective prevention of violent extremism.

The meeting will seek to promote a better understanding of radicalization in the Central Asian and the broader regional context, examine current prevention methods, and identify entry points and opportunities for the international community to formulate development programming which can effectively contribute to the prevention of violent extremism. 

Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the vulnerability of young adults, both men and women, and ways to increase their engagement in community life and to broaden the economic and social opportunities available to them.  Formulating a gender-sensitive approach to preventing violent extremism is also high on the conference’s agenda.

Contact information

Safarbek Soliev, Programme Analyst, External Relations Advisor, UNDP Tajikistan +992 (44) 600-5596/97/98 (ext. 115) safarbek.soliev@undp.org

Nicolas Douillet, Communications Specialist, UNDP Europe and CIS + 90535 922 4991 nicolas.douillet@undp.org

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