Let me first thank our co-hosts Canada and Jordan, as well as UN Women, for their collaboration in organizing this event – which is the first I personally am attending for Norway in our capacity as co-chair of the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism. A sincere thank you also to the impressive panelists we will hear from today.
The Group of Friends of PVE can expect an interesting year in 2021, as we – hopefully – approach a post-Covid world. We can look forward to active engagement in the review of the UN’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as the following Counter-Terrorism Week.
In this regard, our event today is very timely. It is crucial to ensure the input of civil society to the GCTS – as we must in all efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism. This applies especially to CSOs focusing on women’s human rights, as their access to decision-making fora is often particularly limited, even as women are in many contexts particularly vulnerable, or susceptible, to violent extremism and its effects.
We therefore warmly welcome the consultation that UN Women undertook this summer, during which more than 140 civil society representatives from over 40 countries provided input on the gendered dimensions of PVE. The public statement that the consultation resulted in provides a clear framework and concrete recommendations for further action.
In my capacity as co-chair of the GoF of PVE, I would particularly like to highlight the statement’s focus on ensuring a preventative, whole-of-society approach to address violent extremism and terrorism. Indeed, we know that the most efficient way to counter these phenomena is to target the social conditions that produce them. This means promoting human rights in vulnerable environments, and, relatedly, laying the groundwork for an inclusive political process based on collaboration between government, private sector and civil society – one that takes special care to raise and listen to women’s voices.
I therefore welcome today’s important event and look forward to a rich discussion.