Prevention Guidelines for Local Authorities in the MENA and the Balkans

21 May 2024

These prevention guidelines, developed for the benefit of local authorities in their efforts to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism (VE), are based on the research that the CONNEKT team have completed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the Balkans over the last three years. The CONNEKT (Contexts of Extremism in MENA and Balkan Societies) project was first implemented in early 2020 with the aim of advancing the knowledge on radicalisation and VE in these two regions in a comparative perspective. In addition, the project was designed with the intention that it be useful to the local communities. To this end, the project has developed eight toolkits of prevention for each of the eight countries part of the project, namely Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia in the MENA region, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and North Macedonia in the Balkans. The aim of the toolkits was to help civil society actors in providing tools and methods of preventing radicalisation in the local context in these countries, drawing on select local case studies.1 In parallel with the toolkits, these prevention guidelines aim to create a holistic approach towards prevention and towards building resilience in the community.

The recommended activities within this guideline are informed by research conducted at the macro, meso and micro level in the two regions, as well as extensive regional and inter-regional comparison, which all leads towards an acknowledgement of the need to move beyond the securitised approach adopted by states into approaches that empower young people and create contexts in which they can develop and thrive. Namely, in our research we looked at seven drivers of radicalisation: religion, digitalisation, economic deprivation, territorial inequalities, transnational dynamics, political grievances, and educational, cultural and leisure opportunities. The data we have gathered has shown that these drivers are intertwined and work in combination with each other, indicating that no single driver can establish a direct link to radicalisation and VE. In addition, our researchers found that the importance of the social context in which young people work and live cannot be overlooked when developing policies. Indeed, the context in which young people live, created by the interaction of the drivers, is also the objective of these guidelines. Namely, through these guidelines we aim to help local authorities in developing activities and policies which would help young people in becoming more resilient towards VE and radicalisation because they would feel supported and empowered within their local community.

Towards this end, it is important to highlight that local authorities cannot address this issue alone. Namely, in order to address radicalisation and VE adequately and holistically, local authorities need to cooperate and coordinate with other actors, including civil society organizations (CSOs), academia, the business community, informal and formal youth associations, educational institutions, and the community itself. Considering the complexity of the issue of radicalisation and VE, a whole of society approach is needed in order to tackle them and in order to ensure that young people have opportunities and support in developing and growing within their communities.

Related Publications

06/2024 |
The unexplored potential of the EU as a mediator of PCVE efforts across its neighbourhood [+]
06/2024 |
Tunisia - Country Paper on Micro-Level Drivers [+]
05/2024 |
Prevention Measures against Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in the MENA and Balkans [+]