Task Force on Preventing Extremism in Fragile States

shadow of terrorist in front of fence with a city background

In recognition of challenges associated with the global fight against terrorism, the U.S. Institute of Peace released a “comprehensive plan to prevent the underlying causes of extremism in fragile states.” This plan comes as a report from the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States, established by the U.S. Congress in 2017.

The Task Force provides three recommendations that maximize emerging opportunities while increasing the efficiency of extremism prevention.

  • First, the United States must develop a high-level commitment to strategic prevention by adopting “a shared framework […] that recognizes that extremism is a political and ideological problem.”

In order to fulfill this recommendation, the United States should focus on supporting inclusive institutions, accountable governments, and civil society participation. By relying on national and local partnership, the U.S. can help improving the political conditions in fragile states that are particularly susceptible to manipulation by the extremists.

  • Second, the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch should authorize a Strategic Prevention Initiative, which will align and operationalize relevant U.S. agencies and their resources.

Given the existing differences in roles and responsibilities across all stakeholders, it is important to increase agencies’ “responsibility, flexibility, and funding to experiment with and develop effective and tailored solutions.”

  • Finally, the third recommendation suggests the establishment of a Partnership Development Fund, which would complement the U.S. efforts via international donors and multilateral support.

The main goal of the last recommendation is to create more independence among weaker states and to strengthen the vulnerable communities from within. In other words, “it would create a mechanism for other countries to share the burden and incentivize an enterprise-driven approach.” At the same time, the weaker states can maintain cost-effective, long-term prevention solutions that will minimize the growth of extremist threats.

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