The world today is home to the largest generation of youth in history. For this reason, youth are important partners in preventing and countering violent extremism.
At the same time, societies must build youth resilience to counter global challenges, which in many circumstances disproportionately affect girls and young women. The positive contribution of youth to peace and security was also recognized by the UN Security Council in its resolution 2250 (2015), which urges Member States to increase inclusive representation of youth in decision-making processes at all levels, including mechanisms to counter violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism.
In this context, UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch organized a cross-regional meeting for more than 100 officials and civil society representatives from South and South-East Asia. During the event, participants discussed challenges, shared good practices and engaged in technical discussions on partnership strategies to unite local communities, civil society and the private sector to build youth resilience and participation in national frameworks to prevent violent extremism.
The virtual meeting, which took place on 8-10 June 2021, facilitated peer-to-peer exchanges in an effort to strengthen youth resilience to violent extremism at the local and national level. Through discussions and panel sessions led by 20 experts, including representatives of youth-led organizations, the meeting highlighted strategies for youth empowerment and inclusive representation of young men and women as agents of change in the development of national policies on the prevention of violent extremism.
Furthermore, the event provided the participants with comparative good practices on effective rehabilitation and reintegration strategies, with a particular focus on gender- and age-sensitive responses.
The meeting advocated for maximizing cooperation and partnerships with civil society and the private sector, as they are uniquely positioned to build digital literacy and social responsibility to prevent violent extremism. While underscoring a whole-of-society approach to preventing violent extremism, the event also provided good practices and guidance on the development of local partnerships to establish sustainable mechanisms and expand skills and resources of local communities to build youth resilience against violent extremism leading to terrorism.
The online meeting was conducted with the support of the Government of Japan.