The UN Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), with support from the Global Center and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), hosted a dedicated forum for civil society participants in advance of the Joint Regional High-Level Conference convened by the OSCE, OCT, and Switzerland, in cooperation with the Albanian OSCE Chairmanship. Participants included 53 individuals representing over 40 different civil society organizations (CSOs) with diverse experiences working on prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and reintegration, and related issues across the OSCE region.

The one-day workshop for civil society representatives preceded the larger regional conference and provided a dedicated opportunity for participating representatives from civil society to reflect on their experiences in addressing current challenges posed by foreign fighters. The meeting also allowed for perspectives from civil society to be incorporated into the regional conference to inform a set of findings and recommendations on civil society engagement on the issue. The discussion during the workshop highlighted the myriad contributions that civil society can and has made to preventing and countering violent extremism, including in the areas of prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation and reintegration. Across all of these areas, participants highlighted the importance of accounting for gendered aspects of violent extremism and the need to support women civil society actors. The participants welcomed the dedicated opportunity for civil society to reflect on these issues and hoped that the opening would lead to more sustained engagement.

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