Policy Brief: Can Development Initiatives and CVE Be Combined Effectively?

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Date: 
May 17, 2016
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A February 2016 policy brief from the Global Center on Cooperative Security, Countering Violent Extremism and Development Assistance: Identifying Synergies, Obstacles, and Opportunities, indicates that there may be significant benefit to be obtained from cooperation and coordination of security and development initiatives, but notes that efforts to do so may not be without challenges.

The brief refers to a building consensus that “violent extremism and terrorism are both international security and development issues.” Because evidence has shown that economic and social development occur more readily without violent conflict, and because the problems development seeks to alleviate are often related to drivers of violent extremism, it seems natural to suggest a coordination of goals and methods. 

There is still a gap, however, according to the brief, between the “policies, practices, and tools” of the actors generally involved in the two ventures: on the international security side, governmental entities involved with defense and foreign affairs, law enforcement, and regional and multilateral organizations, and on the stabilization and development cooperation side, donor agencies, governmental aid agencies and departments, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations.

The brief discusses first the multiple “points of intersection” between security, development, and drivers of violent extremism, including issues like poverty, sociopolitical exclusion, and poor governance. It then goes on to list challenges for coordination between the relevant actors, including the difficulty of identifying objectives and trust deficits. The brief also provides an in-depth overview of several countries’ approaches, and then concludes with a set of recommendations for optimizing the “efficiency and impact of development programs with integrated CVE objectives.”

Read the full policy brief here.