National-Local Cooperation (NLC) is emerging as an essential component of our global efforts to prevent and counter of violent extremism (P/CVE). In September 2020, the Strong Cities Network produced a GCTF Memorandum of Good Practices to help improve NLC efforts, but there us currently little understand of the status of global progress towards this.
To get some perspective on this issue, and with support from the European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Monitoring, Reporting and Support Mechanism and the Royal United Services Institute, over the last three months we have conducted a deep-dive into NLC efforts in East Africa. In this new publication, we examine the barriers to and progress in NLC, as well as practical steps to take to improve it. Read the key takeaways below, as well as a link to download the full report.
Many thanks to the EU for its generous support of this project, and to RUSI Nairobi for their dedicated research, revisions and edits throughout the project.
1. Clearer definitions of terms can help generate less confusion, suspicion and resentment of P/CVE and may enhance the function of overlapping roles across multiple actors. P/CVE for instance is often viewed as a Western construct and many actors are therefore suspicious of it and its intent. It is similarly conflated with CT and is therefore associated with the security sector. Both have created uncertainty on the part of local government and civil society on how to engage appropriately.
2. Strengthening the role of civil society can lead to organic locally-led initiatives. Civil society is playing an increasing role in the local-level implementation of P/CVE initiatives and, where local governments lack capacity or knowledge, they are increasingly being called upon as implementing partners or to offer expertise. However, many remain underutilised, underfunded or lack the freedom to operate to their fullest extent. There are examples of organic, locally-led initiatives that could benefit from external funding and technical support.
3. NAPs require greater transparency and to integrate and reflect local needs to help break down siloes between national and local levels and ensure they are accountable. NAPs for P/CVE are being actively developed in response to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the women, peace and security agenda, but many exist in siloes and do not adequately integrate or complement other multidisciplinary approaches, or reflect local considerations.
4. Enhancing local government roles through LAPs and effective use of local coordination mechanisms. The role of local government remains underutilised in P/CVE, with no countries other than Kenya and Somalia having measures in place for LAPs. Coordination mechanisms for local government exist, but are usually either rudimentary, non-functional, or relegated to civil society.
5. P/CVE is neither effective nor sustainable in isolation and must be mainstreamed into existing approaches and streams of work where possible. This should involve more than simply relabelling existing programmes but should complement or nest within existing multidisciplinary approaches where possible, such as development, education, or gender and youth.