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Preventing Violent Extremism in the Balkans and the MENA: Strengthening Resilience in Enabling Environments

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PREVEX (Preventing Violent Extremism in the Balkans and the MENA: Strengthening Resilience in Enabling Environments)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Why are some communities more likely to experience violent extremism than others? This is the core question of the PREVEX-project. While the EU has revised its counter-terrorism policies several times since 2001, the destructive impact of violent extremism continues to take its toll, generating negative shocks across international borders. Focusing on the broader MENA region and the Balkans, the overarching objective of PREVEX is, therefore, to present more fine-tuned and effective approaches to preventing violent extremism through strengthening societal resilience. This will be achieved by in-depth case studies of the occurrence and non-occurrence of violent extremism. The findings from the case studies will be brought together in a systematic regional and inter-regional analyses. The comparative analyses will place particular emphasis on investigating non-occurrence of violent extremisms as this is a potential game-changer in efforts to strengthen community resilience.
To suggest more fine-tuned, context-sensitive and effective approaches to prevent violent extremism to the EU and other stakeholders, it is essential to both explore the conceptual understanding of violent extremism and gain a comprehensive overview of what the EU and other key stakeholder already do to prevent it. In the first year of its existence, PREVEX has worked to establish a sound methodology for fieldwork and data gathering. This work was combined with analytical work on concepts and methods related to violent extremism and efforts to prevent it. This was proceeded by a detailed mapping of the EU and key member states procedures, programs and policies in this field. Subsequently, PREVEX conducted a thorough mapping of the EU and other key external stakeholders’ policies towards preventing violent extremism in the Balkans, in North Africa and the Sahel, and in the Middle East. Based on these findings, PREVEX will in its second year turn its attention to cases of occurrence and non-occurrence of violent extremism on the ground in the Balkans, North Africa, the Sahel, and the Middle East
PREVEX offers not only the first systematic comparison of violent extremism and the efforts to prevent it across the Balkans, North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East, but also inhabits an innovative focus on occurrence and non-occurrence of violent extremism in enabling environments. This will cast much needed light on what has been previously overlooked, namely why some communities are much more resilient to violent extremism than others. PREVEX will help us understand the factors that contributes to this resilience and how the EU and other stakeholders can support and help scaling it up.
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