Ashgabat, 18 June 2019: A third regional dialogue organized within the frames of the project on “Strengthening Community Resilience and Regional Cooperation to Prevent Violent Extremism in Central Asia” project opened in Ashgabat. The meeting devoted to the topic of Effective PVE Programming and Policy: Lessons Learned and Best Practices is held with participation of over 80 representatives from Central Asian states.
The series of Regional Dialogue Events have been envisaged to bring together relevant stakeholders and deepen the understanding and effectiveness of responses against the risks of violent extremism in the region. The first regional dialogue was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, the second – in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The Ashgabat Regional Dialogue seeks to further explore the expanding regional expertise in policy and programming. It provided a platform for exchange of lessons learned and best practices of regional policymakers, UNDP implementing partners on the ground, UN agencies and international organizations, civil society stakeholders, as well as select international experts working on PVE.
"Violent extremism is a grave threat to the main pillars of the work of the United Nations and the strategies for preventing violent extremism need to include a development response. Identifying those strategies requires concerted effort by all partners and promotion of proven methodologies that can address the complex drivers of violent extremism," stated Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan.
During the event, representatives of the regional and national organizations exchanged perspectives, priorities, and the progress on policy and strategies regarding the prevention of violent extremism and youth. Participants shared lessons learned and best practices of international organizations, regional non-governmental organizations and civil society working on various dimensions of PVE programming in the region and beyond.
The regional project with the total budget of US$ 6.4 million (2018-20) is generously funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by UNDP. It aims to contribute to resilience in vulnerable communities against violent extremism through improving the socio-economic participation of young men and women in their societies.
While lack of opportunities and youth unemployment have been commonly suggested as structural ‘push’ factors and major drivers of radicalization and violent extremism, the evidence remains mixed. Stereotypical representations of the recruitment and participation of young men and women in violent extremist groups have distorted policy priorities that continue to treat the youth population as a homogeneous, problematic group – a narrative that risks exacerbating rather than addressing their underlying experiences of marginalization.
The Regional Dialogues convene UN agencies together with government officials, youth actors and representatives, academics, experts, think-tanks, donors and civil society representatives and other partners who have both relevant programmatic as well as research experience in this field.