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The launching of "Tackling of Extremism Toolkit"was held at La-Palm Hotel in Accra. Mr. Lamin Manneh, who is the Director Regional Service Centre for Africa said," I am certain that all of you in this room are aware of the expanding reach and destructive consequences of violent extremism, one of today's major challenges to peace and security in the continent. Violent extremism in Africa is setting in motion a dramatic reversal of development gains and threatening to stunt prospects of development for decades to come.

From 2011 to 2016, it caused 33,300 fatalities as well as widespread displacement, with various humanitarian consequences. This is global call to action, a reason to act with a sense of scale and a sense of urgency. In the face of these global threats, we need to foster our ability to prevent violent extremism and build peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the spirit of SDG 16 and the broader Agenda 2030.

At UNDP, we contribute to the prevention of violent extremism by supporting development solutions that target the root causes and structural drivers of violent extremism.  The focus of our preventive approach is to look at the relationship between peaceful societies and inclusive development, rule of law and human right, anti-corruption, good governance, civic engagement and political participation, and to address the horizontal inequalities that fuel radicalization that can lead to violent extremism. In doing so, we support women, youth, religious leaders and their organization as champions  in PVE, and help to create the opportunities for their active participation in building social cohesion at the community level.

As stressed by the UN Secretary - General, creating open, equitable and inclusive societies, with full respect of human rights and economic opportunities for all, is the most tangible and meaningful alternative to violent extremism."

*First, we have seen violent extremism contribute to stunting growth and development in Africa, after a  brilliant economic renewal since the start of the millennium.

* second, we have observed that the response to violent extremism, so far, have been heavily tilted towards military and security operations, and with limited effectiveness.

*Third, we, like all other development practitioners have seen our interventions lacking sharpness, due to an absence of a cohesive framework, to guide our responses. Through our UNDP Africa Regional programme on "preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism,through a Development Approach",which we laughed two years ago, we embarked on an inquiry into the economics and the political economy of violent extremism in Africa, not only to understand the root causes of such a perverse phenomenon, but also to frame a structured model, grounded on empiricism, to guide policy and programmatic responses and gauge their effectiveness and impact."

"The vast body of current research on violent extremism, and Particularly UNDP'S  recent, ground -breaking report "Journey to Extremism in Africa:Drivers,incentives and the Tipping point for Recruitment ", all emphasize that a comprehensive model for PVE should integrate responses across the security and development pillars of governments, engage security actors and communities to reduce district and mutual suspicion, and seek the active involvement of faith -based, youth and women organizations,he said."

Source: Kofi Dwumah

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