This article was originally published on the global development media platform Devex.
Programming to prevent violent extremism, or PVE, in fragile states and conflicts is challenging and fraught with risks.
With two-thirds of all countries in the world having experienced a terrorist attack in 2016, terrorism has become an unprecedented threat to international peace, security, and development, often feeding off violent conflict. The places with the highest levels of terror in the world — Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, and Syria according to the 2017 Global Terrorism Index — are also places with persistent conflict, violence, and grievances.
Violent extremism, or VE, rarely happens in a vacuum. It is one possible outcome of conflict, inequality, and injustice. According to the United Nations, preventing conflict and sustainable development should be the primary focus of our defence against terrorism. While many resources have been put into programs to tackle violent extremism, we need to better understand the suitability of PVE as an approach and the impact PVE interventions have in different contexts.