Improving the Impact of Prevention of Violent Extremism Programming

March 9, 2018

Good morning, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues,

Let me begin by thanking the Permanent Mission of Jordan and the Permanent Mission of Norway [in particular H.E. Sima Bahous and H.E. Tore Hattrem] for hosting this high-level panel. And let me thank my colleagues from the Regional Bureau for Arab States [my friends Murad Wahba and Sarah Poole] from the UNDP Regional Hub in Amman, the Oslo Governance Center and International Alert as well as country offices involved, for developing the Toolkit for design, monitoring and evaluation of PVE which I believe will be an essential resource to improve the impact of initiatives to prevent violent extremism.

My sincere thanks to all of you for being here.

All in this room are aware of the expanding reach and destructive consequences of violent extremism, one of today’s major challenges to peace and security in the world. 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[1]. Colleagues, this is a global call to action, a reason to act with a sense of scale and a sense of urgency. In the face of these global threats, we need to foster our ability to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism and build peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the spirit of SDG 16 and the broader Agenda 2030.

At UNDP, we contribute to the prevention of violent extremism by supporting development solutions that target the root causes and structural drivers of violent extremism. The focus of our preventive approach is to look at the relationship between peaceful societies and inclusive development, rule of law and human rights, anti-corruption, good governance, civic engagement and political participation, and to address the horizontal inequalities that fuel radicalisation that can lead to violent extremism. In doing so, we support women, youth, religious leaders and their organizations as champions in PVE, and help to create the opportunities for their active participation in building social cohesion at the community level.

As stressed by the Secretary-General, creating open, equitable and inclusive societies, with full respect of human rights and economic opportunities for all, is the most tangible and meaningful alternative to violent extremism.

Successful prevention of violent extremism is impossible without partnership. This includes partnering with the Office for Counter Terrorism, the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate and other UN entities, to ensure coherent support to Member States for the development and implementation of their National Plans of Action on PVE. We also work extensively with partners outside the UN system, civil society organizations, including youth organisations. Movement, expert networks and PCVE centres, such as Hedayah. And we have vital partnerships with many Member States [such as our hosts, Norway and Jordan among others], who provide us with the support and resources that make our programmes possible at country, regional and global levels.

In this regard, we are grateful to the Group of Friends of PVE for supporting us in delivering a comprehensive development approach to address the underlying drivers of violent extremism and complementing security measures that are much needed - but still insufficient.

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”,  all 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 organizations.

Many partners have now joined forces and taken up the challenge by implementing new PVE programmes. So far, UNDP has undertaken more than 63 PVE-related and PVE-specific programmes and projects, at country, regional and global levels. Our programming work is global, contextualizes in all regions. While Sarah will speak to Arab States shortly, our work in  Africa, focus particularly on the Sahel, Lake Chad region and the Horn of Africa. But we are also paying attention to countries with emerging risks of violent extremism, such as in Central Asia and the Caribbean, as well as in South East and South Asia. UNDP also implements two regional programmes in the Africa and MENA regions and we launched a Global Programme on “Development solutions for the prevention of violent extremism.”  

Results in preventive action are not always easy to showcase. And yet, the need to show value for money obliges us to ensure that our PVE initiatives are cost-effective and have the needed impact on the ground.  

Hence the importance of Monitoring and Evaluation, not only as an accountability mechanism between Member States, donors and development actors, but also as means to report on the resources invested, the results produced and the lessons learned in PVE programming. M&E enables us, and our partners, to measure the impact, build an evidence base and reach a common understanding on what works and what does not work when it comes to PVE.

As we attempt, collectively, to comprehend the complex threat of violent extremism,  Monitoring and Evaluation is an essential learning tool that allows to upscale our successful interventions, while also preventing us from doing undue harm.  

UNDP intends to use the new Toolkit when assisting governments in formulating and implementing their National Plans of Action for PVE. The Toolkit will be of great value in support to designing monitoring frameworks for the implementation of these National Plans of Action, to make sure they are effective, inclusive and evidence-based.

We will disseminate the Toolkit through our PVE teams in the Country Offices, Regional Hubs, our UN sister entities and other partners, including outside the UN system.

I look forward to hearing about your experiences in delivering PVE programming, and to the formal launch of the Toolkit.

Thank you.