Covid-19 and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism

An assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on the need for preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) programming and its delivery.

Daniel Garcia Mendoza / Alamy Stock Photo - Molecule of Covid-19

Early commentary tended to sensationalise the potential impact of Covid-19 on violent extremism and terrorism, speculating that we might see a substantial uptick in attacks. Such claims were likely overstated given that violent extremist groups have been affected by financial and operational constraints in similar ways to governments, as well as having to contend with restrictions imposed by lockdowns.

Opportunities have arisen for groups in some areas where governments and security forces are distracted by public health responses, but overall these cases have so far been outweighed by the increased limitations and constraints groups face. We have not so far seen a significant global rise in security incidents as a result of the pandemic.

Daniel Garcia Mendoza / Alamy Stock Photo - Molecule of Covid-19


  • Funded by the European Union

    This project is part of CT MORSE and is funded by the European Union as an initiative contributing to peace and stability.

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Project outputs

As part of this project, the available literature and interview data was reviewed to assess the impact of Covid-19 on P/CVE programming. This culminated in a thought piece published in December 2020.

Report: Covid-19 and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism: Challenges and Recommendations


  • Work with P/CVE partners to enable them to adapt programming as necessary in order to maintain engagement and trust with at risk individuals throughout the pandemic, seize opportunities to tackle disinformation and social isolation, and monitor for new at risk groups.
  • Bring the mainstream elements of P/CVE programming into broader sectoral programmes responding to the primary and secondary effects of Covid-19, including health, education, livelihoods and psychosocial support.
  • Advocate for governments and security forces to avoid abuses or heavy handed enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions, and take opportunities to adapt security sector reform and training programmes to tackle Covid-19 related challenges such as handling lockdowns and rebuilding trust and accountability.
  • Increase communications efforts to tackle disinformation and propaganda related to Covid-19, particularly ahead of key potential flashpoints like vaccination roll out.

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