As the so-called Islamic State expands its reach and influence, it is evident that many find its narratives and tactics appealing. Countering that appeal and preventing the spread of the group's violent ideology is essential to its long-term defeat. Partly as an acknowledgment of this fact, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched his new plan of action on preventing violent extremism in January. This International Peace Institute Global Observatory piece by Alistair Millar, Executive Director of the Global Center, explores whether the United Nations is equipped to deliver on the Secretary-General's new plan of action.

The new plan to prevent violent extremism has already drawn some criticism for dwelling too much on what member states ought to do to prevent extremism, rather than offering a concrete plan of action for the United Nation to undertake. However, it does build on a host of initiatives emanating from the UN Security Council and General Assembly over the past decade, and expands the preventive dimension of multilateral activities in this area.

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