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UNDP In Iraq

Prevent Violent Extremism

Best practices in PVE programming

Sensitising communities and state authorities to returnees’ experience in Uzbekistan

UNDP Uzbekistan’s successful efforts in return and reintegration of former members of Violent Extremist Groups (VEGs) and people who may be associated with them are grounded in the awareness that sensitising communities and state authorities to returnees’ experiences is just as important as providing returnees with dedicated services and support to meet their physical and psychological needs. Sensitisation increases empathy towards returnees and reduces stigmatisation, which provide returnees with a sense of belonging and identity as an equal member state. Engaging former VEG members has also instilled ​confidence in the return and reintegration process and provided understanding on the process of ​and ​factors that lead to radicalisation, engagement and disengagement with VEGs.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan


Mainstreaming climate change into peacebuilding in Sudan

In Sudan’s Darfur region, conflict over natural resources evolved into a decade-long crisis in a region, that forms part of a major route for tracking and smuggling of people and arms into Libya, where UNDP continues to monitor the degradation of natural resources and where entire dammed water reservoirs have dried up over the past decade, making it impossible to exclude climate change considerations from stabilisation and PVE efforts. These dynamics are also observed across the conflict affected southern states in Sudan and particularly in South and North Kordofan where a more holistic approach with tailored interventions addressing these additional security risks is needed. Based on conflict analysis, UNDP's programming  focuses on mainstreaming climate security into community stabilisation.



Hakamats sings for peace and social cohesion in North Darfur, Sudan.

Photo: UNDP Sudan


MHPSS for returnee communities in Iraq

In Iraq, UNDP provided MHPSS to 3,625 individuals in four communities of return in Anbar, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din governorates of Iraq. As a result, improvements in psychological symptoms were noted among the returnees. Fatima, 27, says, “We suffered the most in Al-Hol Camp, but upon our return we were admitted to the rehabilitation programme. My experience with the psychological support programme was useful, and I feel that many families can benefit from these programmes.” MHPSS programming is important and complements other components of the Community-based Reconciliation and Reintegration in Iraq Project, including livelihood support such as vocational training and housing rehabilitation. This approach emphasises how these measures are an important part of peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism.



Photo: UNDP Iraq


Engaging religious leaders to challenge extremist narratives in Somalia

UNDP supports the Ministry of Religious Affairs in establishing a country-wide network of religious leaders to curb the spread of violent extremist content and promote peaceful and tolerant messages of Islam. Originally established during the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP supported these networks to share health-related information and encouraged religious leaders to incorporate messages of peace, solidarity, human sympathy, and support in time of global crisis. It aims to specifically counter misinformation by al-Shabaab that the virus is being spread by government officials and foreigners. Engaging religious leaders is critical not only in curbing spread of violent extremist content, but countering misinformation by VEGs.



A delegate reads the Koran ahead of the start of a National Conference on Tackling Extremism in Somalia, in the country's capital Mogadishu.

Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price


Exploring new media and channels with Facebook in Asia Pacific and Sudan

The #ExtremeLives storytelling initiatives in the Asia Pacific region reached nearly 13 million Facebook users in its first three months alone. With first-hand accounts of the darkest days of ISIS-occupied Raqqa, dispatches from an insider of a network training militants across Asia, and stories from journalists fighting misinformation in a post-truth world, #ExtremeLives is a video series that explores themes of recruitment, radicalisation, and rehabilitation, the role of news corporations and social media, and refugees fleeing violence and migrant workers targeted by underground groups.  

In 2017, UNDP Sudan released a film, Iman, and has since used it as a tool to host inter-religious dialogues between Muslims and Christians in Sudan, inviting imams and priests to promote reconciliation among different faiths and discuss collective solutions for preventing youth from getting radicalised. The film’s trailer received over 75,000 views on YouTube within 4 months.


Photo: UNDP Asia Pacific/Ashwa Faheem


Whole-of-society approach to PVE through National Action Plan in Indonesia

In Indonesia, UNDP’s participatory approach engaged 242 representatives from 29 government ministries, and 33 civil society organisations, including 8 women peacebuilding organisations, 2 youth-led organisations, and 5 faith-based organisations. UNDP also supported a comprehensive structure underpinned by capacity development, research, and advocacy efforts to ensure that the NAP is implemented to include workplans for all ministries, budgets, civil society organisation participation, Local Action Plans, M&E framework, and a regulatory framework. 71% of 242 actors agreed that this promoted synergies among PVE actors and terrorist incidences fell by 23% in 2021.


Photo: UNDP Indonesia