In recent months, the world has witnessed new waves of violent extremism that have taken the lives of many innocent people. Whether based on religious, ethnic or political grounds, these extremist ideologies glorify the supremacy of a particular group, and oppose a more tolerant and inclusive society. This points to two distinct but related challenges for contemporary societies: the rise of violent extremism and its spread across national borders and the governance of diverse and multi-cultural societies.
Radical behavior in itself is not necessarily a problem. Non-violent radical behavior, especially if undertaken purposively in the political, economic sphere, can help to promote positive change. A danger arises when radical movements start to use fear, violence and terrorist activities to achieve their ideological, political, economic or social aims; it is then that radicalization turns to violent extremism.
Research to date has highlighted a complex combination of drivers that can move individuals or groups from a state of grievance to mobilization, often shaped closely by local and contextualized dynamics that create a permissive environment for extremist groups. However these drivers are still poorly understood, with a vast array of explanations generally provided that include: underemployment, marginalization, perceptions of injustice, human rights violations, social-political exclusion, corruption and sustained mistreatment of certain groups.
Importantly, where violent extremism occurs the motivations and structures that combine to produce it need to be considered within their specific context. The conditions around what happens in Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Syria or Paris should be separated. Not only are the problems different, but the solutions may be very different as well. Improving efforts in prevention means understanding communities. To prevent violence, policymakers must truly understand community dynamics, which are deeply contextual. Inherent to this understanding is a thorough conception of the diverse needs of men, women, boys and girls, in a deeply context-specific way.
Statistical analysis by the Institute for Economics and Peace has identified two factors which are very closely associated with terrorist activity: political violence committed by the state and the existence of a broader armed conflict. The research finds that 92 per cent of all terrorist attacks over the past 25 years occurred in countries where state sponsored political violence was widespread, while 88 per cent of attacks occurred in countries that were involved in violent conflicts. The link between these two factors and terrorism is so strong that less than 0.6 per cent of all terrorist attacks have occurred in countries without any ongoing conflict and any form of political terror.
When analyzing the correlation of terrorism between wealthier and poorer countries, different factors were found to be statistically significant. In the richer OECD countries, socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment, confidence in the press, belief in democracy, drug crime and attitudes towards immigration are the most statistically significant factors correlating with terrorism. This highlights many of the underlying drivers of radicalization and lone wolf terrorism. In non-OECD countries, factors such as a history of armed conflict, ongoing conflict within the country, corruption and a weak business environment are more strongly correlated, reflecting the larger group-based dynamics seen in many countries. Other correlates which are common to both groups include lower respect for human rights, the existence of policies targeting religious freedoms, group grievances, political instability and lower respect for the UN or the EU.
To understand Violent Extremism, the United States Institute of Peace conducted a qualitative study where 2,302 individuals were interviewed on why they chose to leave their home countries to fight for al-Qa’ida. The results illustrated four broad motivations: identity seeking; revenge seeking anger; status seeking; and thrill seeking. Lack of inclusion, engagement and alienation were all associated with driving these motivations, the Global Terrorism Index 2015 shows correlations between high levels of idle youth who are not in employment, education or involved in some type of training or activity as well. However up-do-date research that understands the current drivers and threat of violent extremism in the Asian context is limited. In the Global Centre for Cooperative Security’s 2015 report “Does Combatting Violent Extremism Work the overall message of needing to understand the problem more effectively was reinforced in the recommendation:
Contextualized assessments and stakeholder consultations are critical to effective programming but remain underutilized. Ongoing investments in gathering and analyzing data need to be sustained and increased.
In addition, the report highlighted the need to more effectively equip non-state actors on the ground such as civil society with the tools, knowledge and networking to more effectively prevent and counter the development of violent extremist attitudes and behavior at the local level.
Networks among Countering/Preventing Violent Extremism (C/PVE) – relevant NGO partners need more investment and nurturing. NGOs face several barriers in self-initiating CVE measures, including resource constraints and knowledge gaps, and peer-to-peer contacts on this issue are underdeveloped
The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism held in February 2015, where ministers from more than 60 countries and representatives of regional and multilateral organizations gathered, concluded that,
Countering violent extremism requires action on multiple fronts, including development assistance and the provision of economic opportunities, educational initiatives, measures to empower youth and women, the resolution of protracted conflicts, community policing, and the dissemination of counter-extremist narratives, including through social media. Further, the ministers noted, governments cannot deliver this wide-ranging agenda alone, underscoring the role of civil society and communities in providing “credible and authentic religious voices” in CVE.
Finally, the UNDP Global Meeting on Preventing Violent Extremism, hosted by the Oslo Governance Centre, brought together 135 participants working in 47 countries from governments; development agencies; civil society including youth organizations and women’s networks; academia; media; law enforcement and security experts and authorities. The following key messages emerged from the discussions:
These efforts will require thorough analysis and research at the regional and country level as well as dedicated efforts to capture key lessons learned and exchange knowledge across regions, institutions and sectors.
The recent reviews of the UN’s work in the area of peacekeeping and peacebuilding stress the need for a more preventive approach and a focus on sustaining peace throughout rather than only restoring peace after war and violent conflict. The prevention of violent extremism needs to go beyond strict security concerns, and look at the development related causes of and solutions to this phenomenon. Experiences in both development and peacebuilding show that an increase in the levels of inclusion and tolerance in communities can both lead to better governance of diversity, but also to societies better inoculated against violent extremism. Tolerance for diversity and intercultural understanding are also at the heart of the new development agenda and particularly, SDG 16 on building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
Today’s radical movements and violent extremism renders inadequate many of the traditional tools of violence prevention and peacebuilding, and challenges policy makers to enter new arenas of thought and action. A compelling response narrative is needed centered on groups who may feel disempowered due to economic volatility, culture shock, perceptions of socio-cultural marginalization and political and economic exclusion. Multi-dimensional solutions are necessary to tackle the problem, which include citizen involvement in the interventions.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has a mandate, approach and human capital assets that are designed to develop civic engagement and to support and facilitate participatory, community-level processes. UNV’s institutional mandate is specifically oriented towards the engagement of citizens in societal transformations. Volunteerism, which is largely perceived as an impartial force for positive change by motivated individuals, can help unite people who are otherwise divided, improve cooperation and dialogue and galvanize wider community participation. Many of the grievances that fuel violent extremism are tied to exclusion and marginalization. UNV has distinct comparative advantages given its expertise and networks in promoting inclusion through the development and creation of formal and informal infrastructures for civic engagement. Volunteerism becomes an indispensable tool in the fight against violent extremism.
To inform both the Global, Regional and Country Office Programming UNVs Bangkok Regional Office is commissioning a consultant to develop a policy brief which explores and analyzes regional case studies which demonstrate volunteerism as a means to prevent radicalization and in turn violent extremism.
Duties and Responsibilities
The objectives of the assignment are to develop a policy paper on exploring Volunteerism as a Methodology for Preventing Violent Extremism in Asia and the Pacific. It should include:
Under the overall of the Regional UNV Peace and Citizen Security Program Specialist at the UNV Asia Pacific Regional Office, the Senior Consultant is expected to:
The senior expert is expected to work towards the workplan in TOR (Annex 1) and timelines to achieve stated outputs. (These outputs will be professionally edited separately according to UNV/UNDP formats and guidelines).
Required Skills and Experience
The Senior Consultant should possess the following expertise and qualifications:
Years of experience:
Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:
Financial proposal that indicates the daily rate/fee of the candidate, in US dollars.
Personal CV or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references.
The method of payment is output-based lump-sum scheme. The payments shall be released upon submitting the required deliverables with satisfactory by the UNV Asia-Pacific Peace and Citizen Security Program Specialist as per agreement for each report in accordance with a set time schedule to be agreed in the contract.
This assignment is on a part-time and home-base basis with no travel required. The Consultant’s is required to work very closely with the UNV Asia-Pacific Peace and Citizen Security Program Specialist.
Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a cumulative analysis taking into consideration the combination of the applicants’ qualifications, proposed methodology and financial proposal.
The award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:
Technical Criteria – 70% of total evaluation – max 35 points
Only the highest ranked candidates who would be found qualified for the job will be considered for the Financial Evaluation.
Financial Criteria – 30% of total evaluation – max. 15 points
The Payment will be made based on deliverable/output and will be paid upon confirmation of UNDP/UNV on the satisfactory completion of the respective deliverable
All Annex is available for download at http://procurement-notices.undp.org/view_notice.cfm?notice_id=32229
This contract does not carry any expectation of any future engagement by UNDP/UNDP.