A Global Solutions Exchange Event
21 September 2017, New York, NY
On 21 September 2017, on the margins of the 72nd UN General Assembly, the Global Solutions Exchange (GSX) marking its first year of activity, hosted #GSX2017 –Innovations in Civil Society and Other Locally-Led Efforts to Prevent Violent Extremism. The all-day event brought dozens of civil society practitioners – many at the helm of women and youth organizations – from around the globe together with representatives from national and local authorities and multilateral institutions, to highlight their unique contributions to reducing recruitment and radicalization to violence in their communities. More than 180 policymakers, practitioners, diplomats, and experts attended the event.
#GSX2017 emphasized that local actors are at the frontlines of pioneering diverse, innovative, positive, and sustainable efforts aimed at preventing violent extremism (PVE) and promoting pluralism and inclusivity. Many spoke of their efforts to build trust between law enforcement and local communities and to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of returning fighters, former violent extremists, and their victims.
Sessions highlighted the value of stronger collaboration between national and local actors on PVE and how an inclusive process of developing and delivering national PVE action plans and strategies can help achieve that. The important contribution that multi-disciplinary, local networks can make to PVE and build social cohesion more broadly was emphasized. Participants underlined the innovative approaches that youth bring to PVE were presented, and the necessity of youth being an integral partner of governments in PVE efforts. Despite the important role that civil society organizations (CSOs) play in PVE efforts, speakers reminded the audience of the ways in which the legal and political space for CSOs is shrinking in some contexts and the need to reverse this troubling trend. Throughout the day, participants stressed how imperative it is for more governments and multilateral institutions to recognize and support civil society as a strong partner in PVE.
By virtue of the exchanges among government, civil society, multilateral actors, and a diverse array of expert practitioners in the realm of education, economic empowerment, security, religion and culture, #GSX2017 exemplified why and how a “whole of society approach” is the path towards not only prevention of violent extremism but promotion of pluralistic, cohesive societies.
#GSX2017 marked a significant step forward in solidifying the participation of local actors and networks in policy conversations around PVE and in the evolution of the GSX, a civil society collaboration, cooperation, advocacy, and analysis platform dedicated to PVE and a mechanism for sustained high-level civil society-government dialogue on issues related to PVE.
During #GSX2017, the GSX released a number of important policy documents, reflecting the views of a diverse group of local and international civil society actors, which provide governments and other PVE stakeholders with practical recommendations for enhancing the impact that local actors have in addressing the global phenomenon of violent extremism.
- Recommendations on Donor Engagement With Civil Society in Preventing Violent Extremism
- 10 Reasons Why Civil Society Is an Ally and Not an Adversary in the Struggle Against Violent Extremism
- 10 Steps Governments Can Take to Support the Critical Role of Civil Society in Preventing Violent Extremism
These documents are available in English and Arabic; French versions are forthcoming.
In addition, the Global Solutions Exchange issued its first newsletter. To subscribe, please click here.
Finally, the event featured an Expo, which allowed a diversity of civil society and other organizations from around the globe to share recent publications and other material relevant to advancing a “whole of society” approach to PVE. This includes the reports that ICAN/WASL produced as a result of GSX thematic meetings in 2017 on the nexus of gender, PVE and economic policy, education, and community policing, the recently launched Nigerian national action plan against violent extremism, and the announcement of a new RUSI-Prevention Project initiative to develop a Global PVE Impact Database that will seek to capture information on all known PVE civil society-led interventions as a basis for a global meta-evaluation of the impact of PVE interventions.
In the weeks ahead, a summary of #GSX2017 and its outcomes and next steps will be made available. In the meantime, we thank the diverse group of donors that provided funding and other support to make this event possible and encourage all stakeholders to become involved in the GSX and, more broadly, to continue to champion the role of civil society and local actors in PVE at all levels.
For questions or more information concerning the GSX please contact INFO@GSXPVE.ORG