Tony Blair Welcomes Global Plan to Counter Violent Extremism

Foundation Update

Tony Blair Welcomes Global Plan to Counter Violent Extremism

27 Sep 2013

A new $200 million fund announced at the 4th Ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

At the 4th Ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in New York on 27 September 2013, GCTF Co-Chairs announced that a core group of government and non-government partners from different regions are planning to establish the first-ever public-private global fund to support local, grass-roots efforts to counter violent extremism in all of its forms. It is anticipated that the fund will raise more than $200 million over the next ten years to support local community initiatives that counter radicalisation and extremism.

Addressing the meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the importance of those organisations working to counter extremism and how crucial it was to work in schools, singling out the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in his remarks.

Speaking to the Forum about his Faith Foundation's education programme, which connects school students of different faiths, cultures and backgrounds from around the world, Tony Blair said:

"This week the UN has been dominated by much discussion of the consequences of extremism, violence and conflict and so Mr Secretary [Kerry] it is enormously good that this meeting focuses on the causes of this extremism and how we deal with it.

"Where there is ignorance there is often fear and where there is fear there is often conflict. But where there is greater knowledge there is greater understanding. And where there is greater understanding there is a greater chance of peaceful co-existence.

"The work that my organisation does, and the work of many others, is about not just the uprooting of terrorism, but the uprooting of the thinking and philosophy behind it. I believe there is no answer to this problem that doesn't start and continue with the importance of educating our young people. So that in a world in which people are pushed ever closer together, they learn to live with each other with mutual tolerance and respect."

Charlotte Keenan, Chief Executive of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation said:

"In an interconnected world we are witnessing daily the resulting conflict and extremist views that can arise when different faiths and cultures are thrown together. Wherever there are those that are fostering hate we must be prepared to challenge them at the beginning of the radicalisation process, identifying and countering the drivers of radicalisation at a local level.

"The horrific violence, the culture of division and the narratives of hate must be confronted at every stage. Young people in particular need help to gain knowledge and skills to resist extremist voices. This means providing the right support needed to prevent religious and cultural prejudice, conflict and extremism - wherever it exists."

"As a member of the group advising on the approach the fund should take, what struck me was that this represented a new, more complete approach to countering extremism that recognised the complexity of the problem we are facing across the world. Key to this is unlocking funding for small community groups who struggle to access support. This is a significant step in the right direction."

Below is the text of the Fact Sheet issued by the Co-Chairs (Turkey and the United States) of the Global Counterterrorism Forum for the September 27, 2013, GCTF Ministerial Plenary in New York.

The Announcement

At the 4th Ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in New York on 27 September 2013, GCTF Co-Chairs will announce that a core group of government and non-government partners from different regions are planning to establish the first-ever public-private global fund to support local, grass-roots efforts to counter violent extremism in all of its forms and manifestations. It is anticipated that the fund will raise more than $200 million over the next ten years to support local, anti-violent extremist causes. Following this announcement, these partners will work over the next six-to-nine months to reach agreement on the scope, legal foundation, and organizational architecture of the fund and mobilize the necessary resources to allow this independent entity, which will have a loose affiliation with the GCTF, to become operational by the middle of 2014.

The Challenge

Terrorism is a transnational and global problem frequently driven by local forces. While military, intelligence and law enforcement operations can help address the threat these groups pose, to succeed in the long-term, we must reduce their ability to recruit at the local level by (1) undercutting the ideological and rhetorical underpinnings that make violent extremist narratives attractive to some individuals and groups and (2) addressing local drivers of radicalization to violence and recruitment. To be effective, CVE efforts need to be driven by local needs, informed by local knowledge, responsive to the immediate concerns of local communities, and often implemented by, or in close cooperation with, municipal governments or civil society and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There is growing recognition that CVE efforts have a better chance of succeeding and enduring when owned and implemented by local civil society or government partners.

The Gap

While local organizations and municipal governments in different regions have had notable success in their CVE efforts, they have also faced a similar set of problems. For example, many local organizations with innovative CVE project ideas have been unable to get off the ground because of the difficulty of attracting the necessary seed funding. Where they have gotten off the ground and had impact, they have faced challenges in securing sufficient funding to sustain or expand their work beyond a single six-month or one-year project cycle. Local entities also often have difficulty navigating the different and often detailed application processes that foundations and large donors have in place. At the same time, many donors tend to (a) prefer larger organizations with proven track records and (b) lack the broad networks and contacts in priority CVE locations to make an interest in funding a reality. As a result, those local organizations and municipal governments which are most likely to have the greatest impact on CVE at the community level struggle to find funding.

The Solution

The Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience will be a public-private global engagement fund designed to counter violent extremism by offering a unique and practical model to enable the international community to bolster grass-roots efforts where radicalization and recruitment are taking place. The Fund will be an independent institution governed by a mix of government and non-government stakeholders that will initially seek to fund local CVE projects. It will help close the significant gap between the needs of local anti-extremism organizations (whether civil society, NGO or local government) and the resources available to support their vital work. The Fund will include a robust vetting process and monitoring and evaluation mechanism -- both will provide donors with confidence that the projects supported advance the objectives that led them to contribute to the Fund.

• Principles: The Fund would be guided by a series of foundational principles, which might include:

Serving as mechanism to raise, disburse, and monitor funds for valuable CVE projects

Supporting projects – particularly at the sub-national level

Evaluating proposals through an independent and transparent review process

Ensuring that projects have the requisite political support from national governments

Performing evaluations of projects to ensure funds are being spent effectively and wisely

Complementing ongoing national, regional, and international CVE efforts

Operating with transparency and accountability

• Scope: Support from the Fund would be intended to complement ongoing efforts of governments and NGOs to address violent extremism within their borders. The Fund will emphasize diverse membership and a results-driven approach to developing solutions to violent extremism and will allow private and government-funded organizations to apply for grants in a range of areas depending upon local requirements/needs. These might include:

Providing life-skills, vocational training, and other alternatives to youth at risk of recruitment and radicalization to extremist violence

Supporting victims and survivors of terrorism, highlighting terrorism's impact on families, communities, and countries

Providing platforms for community leaders and activities to promote and provide positive alternatives to violent extremism.

Designing education campaigns around messages of pluralism, diversity, and tolerance

Designing and implementing mentorship programs and exchange programs for at-risk youth

Creating websites and social networks to educate youth about dangers of extremist ideologies

• Approach: The Fund could be established as a non-profit foundation under the laws of an appropriate country or nested within an existing entity. It would be composed of a Secretariat with oversight from a multilateral governing board that includes a geographically diverse group with representatives of governments, private foundations, non-government organizations, and individual donors. It would leverage both grants and monitoring and evaluation experts to coordinate transparent proposal reviews and work through Country Committees, composed of public and private representatives, to help better direct funds to local priorities.

The Fund and the GCTF

With its diverse membership, emphasis on results, and focus on mobilizing expertise and resources from around the globe to develop innovative solutions to the challenges posed by violent extremism, the GCTF provides the ideal platform from which to launch the Fund. Interested GCTF members can then provide input into the development of the Fund's guiding principles and structure, supply representatives to its governing board and initial donations to the fund on voluntary basis, and elevate the prominence of the nascent fund to ensure a successful launch.