New York, March 9- Programmes aiming to prevent violent extremism need to be grounded in the context in which they are intervening, be based on evidence and have a realistic monitoring framework, according to a new toolkit published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with International Alert.
The toolkit, published today, provides guidance to development practitioners and specialists to improve the design, monitoring and evaluation of programmes that focus on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE).
The first of its kind, the toolkit provides a comprehensive set of tools on all stages of PVE programming, responding to an urgent need to improve efficiency, targeting and design of such programmes to ultimately have the highest impact.
Prior to publication, the toolkit was tested in several countries supported by UNDP. In response to demand among Member States, and in coordination with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and UN Country Teams, UNDP has supported national efforts to prevent violent extremism through evidence-based research, policy support and programme delivery. As a result, there is a growing repository of cutting-edge research findings, and lessons learned on the implementation of a range of PVE interventions. This has helped to accumulate knowledge and garner the interest of more partners to join hands with UNDP to tackle the root causes behind violent extremism.
H.E. Sima Bahous, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, chaired the meeting and thanked UNDP for taking the lead in developing the toolkit and expressed that Jordan will continue to advocate for systematic efforts to prevent violent extremism and work closely with UNDP to devise innovative tools to increase and ensure impact on the ground. Co-host H.E. Tore Hattrem of Norway expressed the vital importance of understanding that violent extremism affects all countries, North and South, and persons of any national origin can potentially become a violent extremist.
Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support stated, “Violent extremism is responsible for approximately 100 deaths a day; in 2016 it costed the global economy an estimated $ 14.3 trillion– equivalent to 12.6 percent of the Global GDP. This is a global call to action, a reason to act with a sense of scale and a sense of urgency.” He further stated, “In the face of these global threats, we need to foster our ability to counter terrorism and violent extremism, and build peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the spirit of SDG 16 and the broader Agenda 2030.”
On behalf of the UNDP Regional Burau for Arab States, Deputy Director Sarah Poole said, “We are delighted that the toolkit has expanded to a global reach, not only as a means to strengthen the quality and impact of PVE related programming, but also to connect and generate knowledge and learning about what works in different contexts and regions, and improving the impact of our work.”
Participants at the launch including representation from over 30 United Nations Missions discussed the challenges and different contexts in which extremism occurs and the approaches taken by national and international actors in developing tools, suitable to country context and taking into consideration international factors.
“A community of practice is developing to better inform PVE programming. But the systems and tools for understanding the suitability of PVE as an approach and the impact PVE interventions have in different contexts are not yet available. This toolkit is designed to close this gap,” said Ruth Simpson, co-author of the toolkit and Senior Lead – Development, Impact and Learning, Middle East and North Africa at International Alert.
The vast body of current research on Violent Extremism, and particularly UNDP’s recent, ground-breaking report “Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment”, emphasize that a comprehensive model for PVE should integrate responses across the security and development pillars of governments, engage security actors and communities to reduce distrust and mutual suspicion; and seek the active involvement of faith-based, youth and women’s organizations.
Theodore Murphy, Policy and Communications Specialist, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, email: Theodore.firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +1 718 915 2097
Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, Email: email@example.com, Tel: +1 212 916 5043