The Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations together with the Global Center hosted an expert panel discussion at UN Headquarters in New York on experiences in the implementation of national strategies and action plans to prevent violent extremism (PVE). The event included opening remarks by Ms. Paula Risikko, Minister of the Interior, Finland and presentations from Finland, Kenya, and the European Union on the development and implementation of PVE strategies and action plans, highlighting good practices and challenges when moving from plans to action.
In his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, the UN Secretary-General recommends that “each Member State should consider developing a national plan of action to prevent violent extremism which sets national priorities for addressing the local drivers of violent extremism.” This was reconfirmed by the UN member states during the fifth biennial review of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy in July 2016, when they encouraged “the further elaboration and development of national, subregional and regional plans, as appropriate, to support the implementation of the Strategy” (A/RES/70/291).
National strategies and action plans on PVE provide governments with a strategic vision and a blueprint for interagency coordination as part of a proactive, whole-of-government approach, involving all relevant government branches rather than just the traditional security actors. Active participation from civil society and non-government actors enables an even wider whole-of-society approach. Engagement and empowerment of communities at the local level helps to address the underlying factors exploited by those who promote violent extremism and improves societal resilience against propaganda and recruitment. Over the last years, the number of countries that have developed PVE strategies and action plans has increased considerably. However, these processes are sometimes hampered by a lack of inclusion, political will, and/or resources. Some governments are also hesitant to include civil society and embrace a whole-of-society approach. Meanwhile, continuing overreliance on the military and other hard security responses to combat terrorism risks being ineffective or outright counterproductive.
The panel discussion provided an opportunity to share national experiences in the development and implementation of PVE strategies and action plans. After welcoming remarks from the Minister of the Interior of Finland, participants heard presentations from Ms Tarja Mankkinen, Head of Development with the Ministry of the Interior of Finland; H.E. Ms Koki Muli Grignon, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations; and Gerton Van Den Akker, Chargé d’Affaires with the EU Delegation to the UN. The discussion was moderated by Global Center Deputy Director, Jason Ipe, and allowed for interaction with the panelists and an opportunity for other countries and organizations to contribute their experiences.