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National-Local Cooperation

National – Local Cooperation

National-local cooperation (NLC) is an essential component of preventing and addressing hate, extremism, and polarisation; all multi-faceted phenomena requiring a whole-of-society approach that leverages the capacities of different actors at every level into a coherent and coordinated effort. NLC supports this need by enabling actors at both levels to work collectively and maximise the impact of prevention and response efforts. As a practice, NLC encompasses the structures, resources and approaches that support both national strategies and localised needs.

Why focus on NLC?

NLC is a global challenge. National governments are well placed to plan, coordinate and resource responses to extremism and terrorism, but often prioritise police or kinetic interventions over the needs of individual communities and the factors that underpin vulnerabilities to extremism.

Local actors, on the other hand, have a clearer understanding of local needs and greater access and credibility for community outreach and individual engagement necessary for long-term prevention initiatives. Yet, local governments often lack the capacity, resources or mandate to fulfil this role. It is only when national and local efforts are combined and effectively coordinated that nations can stand against the challenges of hate, extremism and polarisation.

NLC Good Practices

Strong Cities is working to support implementation of 13 good practices for strengthening NLC for preventing and countering violent extremism conducive to terrorism developed by the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). These are practical steps countries can take to enhance coordination and cooperation between national and local government, civil society and the private sector.

In addition to publishing a Strong Cities Network Policy Brief to support this implementation, Strong Cities is currently developing a Toolkit to further support tailored implementation of these good practices in diverse contexts. With support from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Toolkit will include case studies from different regions of how the good practices are applied, as well as implementation checklists and guidance tailored to different contexts. The Toolkit will be launched in September 2023.

Mapping & Analysis

To inform the Toolkit, Strong Cities has conducted a number of mapping and analysis exercises in collaboration with local experts in West Africa, Indonesia, and Uganda. Further, with support from the European Union, Strong Cities partnered with the Royal United Services Institute in Nairobi to map NLC strengths and challenges in East Africa.

The purpose of these exercises was to identify and understand the strengths and barriers to NLC in different global contexts and in each case, a local expert’s in-depth research was complemented by a multi-stakeholder meeting with national and local actors from each context.

Strengthening NLC in Indonesia

In December 2022, Strong Cities brought together officials and representatives from national and local government, civil society, religious organisations and academia from across Indonesia for a dialogue on strengthening both NLC in P/CVE and the role of Indonesian local authorities in preventing hate, extremism and polarisation.

The event, held in Surakarta, was organised in collaboration with the Global Center on Cooperative Security (GCCS) and the Indonesian National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT), and supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Is your city a Strong City?

Strong Cities membership is open to local authorities at the city, municipal or other subnational level. Membership is free of charge.