You are here
The world is becoming less peaceful: global incidents of conflict, terrorism and violent crime are all rising, some quite significantly. Yet understanding and responding to the drivers of this insecurity is becoming increasingly challenging, whether in relation to insurgent conflict, ideology-related violence or a return to inter-state conflict. The impact is felt in the form of chronic humanitarian needs, unprecedented migration flows and growing inequality, which can in turn exacerbate the root causes and drivers of insecurity.
It is in this broad context that violent extremist ideologies are gaining an unprecedented level of traction across the globe, taking root in local communities in a range of fragile states, and attracting a growing number of disenfranchised citizens in other, more stable states. Their incitement of hate, violence and terror should have no place in a modern and civilised world.
It is important to emphasise that violent extremism is a global problem, which can manifest itself in all places, amidst all cultures and ideologies, but with different characteristics. Radicalisers work by pointing to social, political and economic injustice and playing on the grievances, real or perceived, of their followers. Often, they promote a belief that these grievances result from a corrupt system of politics or ideologies, which they incite their followers to fight against. To be persuasive, many of the arguments put forth are based on facts, but portrayed in a highly selective and incomplete way, thus distorting reality. Equally importantly, the means by which radicalisers incite followers to seek redress for injustices is through violence, oppression and victimisation.
The challenge for policy-makers has arguably never been greater; the international community needs to bring all of its tools to the table both to resolve on-going crises and prevent their re-occurrence. The European Union (EU), with its Member States, is the world’s largest development actor, with a comprehensive global reach and a range of instruments to allow it to engage on continental, regional and national levels. These cover a range of different approaches, from long-term preventive engagements on trade, infrastructure and development-orientated service delivery, to short-term stabilisation, targeted humanitarian relief and recovery measures.
Addressing both manifestations of, and the conditions conducive to, violent extremism is a developmental challenge. A core part of addressing this challenge lies in strengthening the fundamental building blocks of equitable development, human rights, governance and the rule of law. A diverse range of stakeholders need to be brought into the process and empowered, including state actors and security institutions, as well as members of communities and civil society who can speak courageously and compellingly about truth, tolerance and acceptance. While a strong response to violent extremism is required, this should be based on civil liberties and should address insecurity, inequality and marginalisation. The EU is committed to working with partners across the globe to achieve this in the interests of all citizens.
Over the last decade, the European Commission has invested heavily in combating this threat by addressing conditions conducive to violent extremism, building capacity to reinforce the rule of law and promoting development. As a core part of this, the European Commission aims to strengthen and build the resilience of vulnerable communities through capacity building initiatives. This brochure highlights a number of projects funded or supported by the European Commission worldwide that contribute to this effort.