Countries in South-East Asia remain affected by the threat of radicalization and violent extremism conducive to terrorism. The threat of violent extremism has been amplified by increased exploitation of virtual platforms by terrorist and violent extremist groups. The involvement of young people in recruitment, radicalization, and operational activities also represents an evolving challenge in the region.
Addressing these complex challenges requires a proactive approach involving multiple actors in preventing violent extremism (PVE). A whole-of-society approach, promoted through multi-agency coordination and multi-disciplinary cooperation, remains key for effective and sustainable PVE strategies as stressed in the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
In this context, UNODC has been collaborating with Member States in South-East Asia to operationalise a regional network of PVE practitioners. The network, currently implemented in its preparatory working group (PWG) phase, will serve as platform for regional cooperation, sharing of knowledge, and human rights compliant and gender-sensitive good practices among relevant PVE stakeholders.
To advance this initiative, UNODC and the National Counter-Terrorism Agency of Indonesia (“Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Terorisme”, BNPT) held the first meeting of the advisory board of the PWG on developing the regional network of PVE practitioners of South-East Asia on 7-8 March 2023. During the meeting, participants addressed operational procedures of the advisory board and endorsed the workplan of the PWG’s seven thematic groups in line with the national and regional needs and priorities. The PWG’s national contact points also reviewed the progress made in implementing the roadmap on the development of the regional network at the national level. In addition, they discussed ways to further engage civil society organizations into the network, as well as highlighted the need to promote comprehensive preventive initiatives in partnership with local communities.
The participants reiterated the benefits of the PVE network as an important platform for regional cooperation that brings together government and civil society stakeholders to jointly address the risks of violent extremism in the region, while strengthening the knowledge, expertise, and capacities of PVE practitioners.
The activity was funded by the Government of Japan.