Over 100 participants took part in the conference entitled “Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism in a development context” organized by DEVCO B5 in cooperation with the Netherlands Council presidency.
The conference brought together counterterrorism and development experts (COTER and CODEV), diplomats, policy makers and CVE practitioners who work at the global, national and local levels. By exchanging perspectives, approaches and experiences in dealing with violent extremism on the basis of a concrete case study, the conference contributed to a greater understanding of the mutually reinforcing nature of CVE and development policy, as well as the benefits of including development tools into CVE-programming and vice versa in fragile and conflict affected states or other regions where a threat of violent extremism exists.
Positive feedback was received about the organization of the seminar, which was based around a specific case study and four distinct working groups covering areas such as ODA, Youth, Criminal Justice and Coordination.
The diverse background of participants and the very timely discussions on the new ODA criteria and on the intrinsic connection between security and development, notably in light of the SDGs (goal 16 and its promotion of just, peaceful, and inclusive societies) as well as taking into account the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism contributed to the success of the event according to the reviews received. Conclusions for each working group were as follows:
Working group 1: Consensus was reached on the applicability and benefits that most of the traditional development interventions can have in preventing and countering violent extremism. Regarding the new ODA guidelines, it was concluded that they do not have a big impact on what is already being done but they do represent an opportunity for security and development stakeholders to speak the same language.
Working group 2: Among the key issues highlighted by participants to this working group was the importance of catering P/CVE interventions to the specific contexts where they are meant to be applied, which often times include acknowledging political dynamics, the sensitivities that the CVE realm arouse in beneficiary partners, the high risks associated with the implementation of CVE-specific projects, and the challenges posed by weak or corrupt governments.
Working Group 3: Participants agreed that rule of law and building criminal justice and security sector capacity programmes in countries where there is evidence or risk of violent extremism need to encompass P/CVE specific elements. The need to encourage also in this sector the active participation of civil society stakeholders and the creation of spaces to discuss community grievances was also addressed.
Working group 4: Participants to this working group highlighted the positive impact that a comprehensive approach to institutional development can have in the P/CVE domain, they also underscored the benefits of including CVE-specific initiatives into broader community-based programmes.
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