On 22nd to 24th February, the PAVE Project consortium gathered in Paris for a joint progress and assembly meeting. In the light of an increase in radicalism and violent extremism in Europe and worldwide, there is a growing need for a common political strategy and effective prevention measures. The European research project PAVE aims to examine driving and mitigating factors of radicalisation and violent extremism in the Balkans and MENA region.
The first day included reports by work package leaders on progress and first results from the second progress year after finishing their field research in the seven case study countries and offered insights from their recent stakeholder committee meetings. Each presentation was accompanied by a rich discussion on ethical challenges in regard to the field research with the attending members of the PAVE external advisory board Sheikh Mohammed Abu Zaid and Prof. Tom Sorell.
For the second day of the meeting, PAVE met with its sister projects CONNEKT and PREVEX for a joint research symposium to report on each project’s experiences on drivers and features of violent extremism and discuss individual country findings and regional trends in the Western Balkans and the MENA region. This meeting was a first stepping stone for the three projects, funded under the same H2020 call, to cross-fertilise research results and identify common recommendations for EU and in-country policymakers. The cooperation will continue over the next months, through joint events and publications.
As part of the final day of the PAVE regional workshop, over 45 PAVE partners and key stakeholders, including policymakers, faith actors, and civil society from the MENA and Western Balkans region gathered in a hybrid format in Paris to validate key findings as part of a capacity-building needs assessment. Based on feedback and recommendations provided from the validation workshop and the capacity-building needs assessment findings, a set of training modules and tools will be further developed during 2022. These materials and trainings will be piloted and published for open-source use by January 2023 to serve these three stakeholder groups beyond the lifespan of the PAVE project.
Throughout 2021, PAVE project partner, the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, conducted participatory consultations with policymakers, faith actors and civil society in the MENA and Balkans region to understand the capacity-building needs and to identify key themes of interest related to preventing violent extremism (PVE) with the purpose of developing capacity-building tools and training modules. The assessment builds on the initial PAVE partners’ field research findings that identify vulnerability and resilience factors which either hinder or advance multi-stakeholders’ response to preventing violent extremism in the Western Balkans and MENA regions in order to offer recommendations to improve this coordinated response. Similarly, the assessment identifies some best practices and existing tools to advance resilience against violent extremism in it all forms or to prevent violent extremism in focus thematic focus areas and region highlighted by stakeholders and previous projects.
Validation workshop participants affirmed the proposal to develop 5-8 training modules focused on themes relevant for the prevention of violent extremism in both themes in the MENA and Western Balkans regions. Trainings will include topics surrounding the (1) interface between religious, political, and ethnic/sectarian extremisms; (2) interaction between religious and state institutions; (3) on- and offline narratives and (de-)radicalization; and (4) transnational interactions, including impact on and from Europe. Each module will target the engagement of policymakers, religious actors and civil society, including women and youth, and can be adapted to meet the demands of local contexts.
Although the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has challenged the implementation of the project, PAVE has successfully conducted its fieldwork phase and is now working on the elaboration of the project results and their exploitation.
About the PAVE Project
PAVE aims to tackle the global issue of radicalisation by examining its root causes and driving factors. Based on a participatory and inter-regional approach, we aim to advance evidence-based knowledge on violent extremism in the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the Western Balkans, and to strengthen the capacity of policy-makers and community leaders for an effective prevention strategy between the European Union and its neighbourhood. Click here to learn more.