Last week, member cities from across Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were joined by partner organisations, experts and multilaterals for the SCN Western Balkans Regional Practitioners’ Workshop in Durrës, Albania.
Hosted by SCN partners, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the workshop built on in-country training sessions in Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro earlier this year. In addition to the practitioner training, the event’s opening sessions also brought together key national figures and regional mayors, building cooperation across a membership of more than 40 cities region-wide.
Across two days, frontline practitioners discussed key regional trends, local challenges and the steps being taken across several member cities to prevent violent extremism and build cohesive, resilient communities. Key issues included returnees and reintegration (including from the perspective of former violent extremists), referral mechanisms, and working with families and young people.
The workshop included a core session on local action planning and risk assessments, identifying and categorising key risk dynamics in member cities. Participants then looked at how a comprehensive evidence base and methodology being developed as a joint framework between ISD and Creative Associates International can drive appropriate and targeted initiatives and form the basis of Local Action Plans. This work, first announced during the SCN International Steering Committee meeting in Aarhus, Denmark in May 2017, builds on expertise across the two organisations, from stability and resilience assessments to online threat analysis and local institutional vulnerability testing.
The next SCN Regional Practitioners’ Workshop is scheduled for January 2018 and is set to involve around 10 cities from across the South Asia region.