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Prevention violent extremism through education (PVE-E)

As the leading UN agency mandated on education, UNESCO promotes education systems that are able to foster global citizens, resist violent extremism and counter its spread. For UNESCO, this implies providing young people with the cognitive (critical thinking, problem solving, etc.) and socio-emotional skills (creativity, empathy, compassion, sense of solidarity and responsibility, etc.) that will prepare them for the world of work and empower them as responsible citizens [Target 4.7 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Framework].
The overall goal of UNESCO’s action in the area of PVE-E is to increase the capacity of education systems (eg. policies, teachers, educational contents) to effectively contribute to the prevention of violent extremism, and in partnership with stakeholders working on ground.  
The work undertaken in this area is a follow up to UNESCO’s Executive Board Decision 197EX/46, and is in line with the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674 of 24 December 2015) and the UN General Assembly Resolution on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review (A/RES/70/291, July 2016), which acknowledges the importance of PVE-E. It is also being undertaken within the conceptual framework of Global Citizenship Education (GCED).


UNESCO’s programme of work includes the following: 

  1. Global advocacy - The consolidation of an international consensus around the need for an increased and human-rights based engagement of the education sector in the PVE (political and advocacy efforts). 
  2. Technical guidance - Development of: 
    1. a comprehensive technical guidance for ministries of education on how they can implement effective actions to prevent violent extremism within the broader framework of global citizenship education (GCED) provided in formal and non-formal settings, and at different levels (secondary, TVET, higher education); 
    2. a Teacher’s Guide on managing classroom discussions in relation to PVE and radicalization. This is a concise and practical reference for teachers at the upper primary/lower secondary level.
  3. Strategic information – Providing Member States with easy access to relevant educational resources on PVE-E through the UNESCO GCED Clearinghouse hosted by APCEIU. The site is being expanded help bolster global understanding of the phenomenon of violent extremism, and the wide dissemination of such materials by educationalists, young people and youth stakeholders.
  4. Capacity building initiatives for education professionals of the formal, non-formal and informal sectors, at international, regional, national and local levels on how to address violent extremism through global citizenship education and genocide prevention is being envisaged in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCIEU).


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