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Development and Violent Extremism Prevention

Status: Completed
  • Countries Targeted

    Countries from the North and South of the Mediterranean.



    CMI, AFD, World Bank.


    Regional Context

    Recent terrorist attacks and the growth of ISIS have highlighted how the phenomenon of violent extremism is a regional public bad. Experts have identified common causes in northern and southern countries leading youth to join extremist groups and resort to violence. Social media, satellite channels, and new communication tools have allowed radicalization to cross borders, and made recruiting and training easier. These causes can be roughly traced to the following key factors:

    • Many youth are excluded from social, political and economic life.
    • There are social, political and economic grievances that have not been answered by policymakers. These include inequalities, unemployment, lack of civil society participation in political life, etc.
    • In the South, dialogue is often limited to very small forums and critical thinking is often weak.
    • The existence of intensive online and face-to-face radical propaganda.

    All these factors show that northern and southern states have failed in their primary mission to uphold the social contract. A purely national focus has strong limitations and cooperation among countries is essential in order to provide an effective and coordinated response. Moreover, as violent extremism has consequences for development, development institutions have a role to play in order to fight its causes over the long term.



    The work program is articulated around 3 pillars:


    1. 1. Awareness building which includes the dissemination of relevant existing analyses and studies through the CMI website and the promotion of academic works in southern countries of the Mediterranean. Awareness raising is necessary in order to support strategies aiming to change attitudes, and behaviors.
    2. 2. Support fieldwork implemented by NGOs, civil society and researchers around the Mediterranean.
    3. 3. In the long-term, contribute to building institutional responses through identification and selection of public policies. To improve preventive efforts against radicalization and violent extremism, actions need to be accompanied by strong policy reforms. Hence, there is a need to develop analyses that inform policies and operations, to build shared policies replicable at the regional level.


    Selected Outcomes

    Discussions about core priorities, leading to production of a policy paper with analysis and recommendations addressed to development institutions and the public sector:

    Development actors and the public sector have a role to play in fighting violent extremism through coordinated actions aimed at creating plurality and enhancing citizens’ engagement and personal development. Therefore, clear identification of avenues for collaboration and action is needed. This paper gathers and reflects most of the existing knowledge on this phenomenon and tries to highlight the potential roles of development actors in order to counter radicalization, acting across different sectors (education, citizen participation…). Moreover, this paper provides policymakers with new insights and recommendations to encourage reflection on possible policies targeting youth to prevent radicalization and violent extremism.


    Increased knowledge and analysis of the Violent Extremism phenomenon: Four meetings between May 2015 and June 2016, and a workshop on ‘Preventing violence and radicalization in schools’ (Tunis, May 23-24, 2016) allowed the assembling of many studies and analyses of the Violent Extremism phenomenon. Those studies and analyses let experts have a clearer vision on the phenomenon and propose areas of intervention. The meetings also created linkages among people and institutions working on the subject, allowing them to share and exchange practices and produce knowledge and solutions.


    Permanent dialogue and roadmap set to fight radicalization and violence in schools in Tunisia: The workshop ‘Preventing violence and radicalization in schools’ (Tunis, May 23-24, 2016) sought to create a platform for discussion among stakeholders to identify and evaluate existing programs and services related to the reduction of tension in the educational environment, key success factors, sustainability and duplication, as well as implementation challenges. The workshop resulted in: (i) A draft roadmap with technical measures that could be recommended in three different areas (urban, suburban and rural); (ii) The launch of a multi-stakeholder dialogue process on education reform to prevent violence and radicalization.