Terrorism is a transnational and global problem that nonetheless begins at the local level, with a disaffected individual whose circumstance may render him ripe for recruitment into a violent extremist group. It therefore makes sense to find ways to change the conditions that too frequently end up driving young people into the ranks of terrorist cells.
Speaking in New York at the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial conference, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “we need to intensify our efforts to try to address the underlying factors that lead vulnerable individuals down the path towards random violence.”
“The radicalization that leads to that is often fueled by conditions at the local level,” said Secretary Kerry. “So for our efforts to be effective, they’ve got to be driven by local knowledge, they’ve got to be responsive to concerns of local communities, and we know from experience that these efforts are most likely to be sustainable when they are owned and implemented by local civil society and government partners.”
To finance this effort, Secretary Kerry announced that work will begin on the formation of the Global Fund on Community Engagement and Resilience, a public-private global engagement fund designed to bolster grass-roots efforts where radicalization and recruitment are taking place.
The fund, expected to raise some $200 million over the next 10 years from both government and non-government entities, will help combat violent extremism by undercutting the ideological and recruiting appeal of violent extremists.
Support from the Fund would be intended to complement ongoing efforts of governments and NGOs to address violent extremism within their borders. The funds could be used to support local, community-driven efforts that identify and target those who may be vulnerable to appeals from terrorist groups.
Possible projects include life skills and vocational training for young people; grants to schools to teach tolerance and problem-solving to educate young people about the dangerous repercussions of violent extremist ideologies; or to develop web sites and social networks to help educate youth about the dangers of violent extremist ideologies.
By harnessing our efforts around a global fund, we can address the problem, “and empower local actors to be able to define a path forward,” said Secretary Kerry. “Resilient communities, effective communities, sustainable communities – that’s what the fund is going to ... offer.”