The political and socio-economic structural challenges plaguing Libya since 2011 have established a favourable environment for the development of Violent Extremist (VE) groups, who present a persisting threat to the everyday security of the Libyan populace. VE groups will likely continue to pose a challenge to the country’s stability while the underlying, multi-faceted factors and causes of violent extremism and recruitment into VE groups remain unaddressed.

Within this context, the Libyan Counter Terrorism Centre (LCTC) has invited UNDP Libya to support the expansion of the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) component of Libya’s Counterterrorism (CT) Strategy, which was finalised in November 2020, and to develop guidelines and plans for the prevention of violent extremism in Libya. To this end, UNDP is carrying out a pioneering PVE program focusing on the participatory development of seven municipal-level PVE strategies, the elaboration of tools and plans for peace education, peace messaging, and the strategic engagement of cross-border communities, and the development of a comprehensive national PVE strategy and action plan with the Government of Libya (GoL). These actions will help strengthen the capacities of governance structures and empower communities to effectively address the most sensitive drivers of VE in Libya. 

Given the unique and varied push and pull factors throughout Libya, UNDP will also support municipalities to develop their own targeted, localized PVE strategies which are tailored to specific realities while being adaptable to changing contexts. This process will ultimately enable the Government of Libya to address major factors and root causes of VE more effectively, ultimately leading to greater stability and security in Libya.

The objectives of the conference are the following:

To provide a safe and secure platform for lessons learned and best practices to be shared and exchanged among international, national, and local PVE policy makers, practitioners, and academics.

To address major VE risks and their trends in Libya and its linkages to regional and global dynamics.

To establish a PVE community of practice in Libya.

To launch national, international, and local PVE technical working groups.

The conference was attended by PVE policy makers, practitioners, and academics from Libya and the MENA region, in addition to international partners in which North African Policy Initative is included.

The conference ranged from panel discussions, parallel working group sessions, to networking and interactive exchange of ideas and solutions. It covered topics on the local and national ownership of PVE, the role of civil society in the national PVE dialogue, women’s role in PVE, mechanisms and peace education programs, among other important topics. 

The conference concluded with an active and impactful engagement of the participants in which representatives from 8 Libyan ministeries, members of 10 Libyan CSOs, in addition to IOs, INGOs, and international donors took part in the discussion.