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Global Counterterrorism Forum: Denmark and Burkina Faso Develop Pilot Project to understand the drivers of violent extremism

27.09.2013  18:30
Under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Denmark and Burkina Faso are leading work on countering violent extremism (CVE) in West Africa and the Sahel. The two countries will implement two pilot-projects designed to enhance the understanding of as well as raise awareness about the drivers of violent extremism in Burkina Faso and the region. As part of this effort, frontline law enforcement officials will receive training on building trust with local communities in order to identify and prevent violent extremism. 

The initiative is part of 21 recommendations contained in a report introduced today in New York by the Danish Foreign Minister Mr. Villy Søvndal at a meeting of GCTF foreign ministers. The meeting was co-chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal:

”I am very pleased that we have stepped away from seeing the prevention and countering of terrorism as a question of ‘them against us’. This is an important message from Denmark and Burkina Faso here in New York today, working in partnership to achieve these goals. The 21 recommendations which we presented today are clear examples of words being transformed into action and a testimony to fruitful cooperation through the GCTF.

Again and again terrorism shows its ugly face. International terrorism is countered most effectively by sustained and preventive efforts - remaining true to our core values embodied in international norms, human rights protocols, and the rule of law.

Our report includes recommendations for support to civil society and the media which is one of the focus areas of the Danish Sahel-programme, which also covers Burkina Faso. The implementation of the first two recommendations in Burkina Faso will help us to get an overview of factors leading to violent extremism. This is useful when identifying where future counterterrorism and CVE efforts need to be concentrated. At the same time, training of frontline law enforcement officials will contribute to strengthening national capacities and building trust between authorities and local communities, through which radicalisation can be more effectively prevented.

Fostering trust between authorities and the local communities of which they are a part and functioning in is key to preventing radicalisation. In this process local communities should also be provided with tools to both prevent extremism but also to react and bring young people - on the verge of transforming extreme views into violence - back on the right track.

At the UN Secretary General’s global Sahel meeting yesterday my main message was precisely to involve civil society in conflict resolution."

The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) is a forum of 30 members working to prevent and address radicalisation, extremism and terrorism. Within the Forum countries that have either suffered from terrorism and/or been particularly active in supporting counterterrorism initiatives are working together towards these common goals. Among the examples of GCTF initiatives are training sessions for police and the judiciary in Africa and the Middle East, focused on how to ensure respect for human rights while countering terrorism and prosecuting terrorists. As only one of seven GCTF-members from the European Union, Denmark has been part of the Forum since its inauguration in 2011.

For further information please contact:
Lars Peter Levy, press advisor to the minister of foreign affairs, phone: +45 4190 4124, e-mail