On the margins of the formal adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Center and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) co-hosted a roundtable discussion to explore the evolving relationship between development and security. Speakers included Mr. Md. Shahidul Hague, foreign secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; Mr. Erik Solheim, chair, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Development Assistance Committee; Mr. Miles Armitage, ambassador for counter-terrorism and assistant secretary counter-terrorism branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia; and was moderated by Dr. Khalid Koser, executive director of GCERF.
Participants voiced the need for increased community engagement and the provision of constructive alternatives to violent extremism through skills building and employment opportunities. “Push factors” such as poverty, disenfranchisement, and marginalization were identified as needing international, national, and local responses. Goals 10 (reduced inequalities) and 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) of agenda 2030 were highlighted as important to addressing some of the drivers of violent extremism. Recognizing that violent extremism often adds to instability, speakers emphasized the need to prioritize stability in dealing with the threat, for example, through efforts to strengthen good governance and improving service delivery. It was suggested that politics provides a key link between development and security and that it can represent a tool for dialogue and conflict resolution, especially at the local level and before grievances expand into even bigger issues. Some participants also cautioned that violent extremism is a complex problem that requires multiple approaches and that practitioners and policymakers should be mindful of not securitizing or instrumentalizing development and development actors, and to promote the respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law in all counterterrorism and countering violent extremism activities.