Partnerships to Strengthen Strategic Communications

ICEPCVE-UNOCT Strategic Communications Training Workshop, 27th – 28th May 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Representatives from the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT) and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Directorate (UN-CTED) joined staff from the IGAD Centre of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ICEPCVE) at a two-day co-design workshop from 27th to 28th May 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The objective of the co-design workshop was to share evidence and practitioner experience, and to develop a shared understanding of the use of communications by violent extremist groups.
“It has been a long time coming and we are excited that this is one of the steps we are taking towards building a relationship with like-minded partners at IGAD. Through this co-design workshop we can collaboratively integrate global good practice and emerging international evidence on preventing violent extremism through strategic communications, in order to build the capacity of IGAD Member States in proactive strategic communications,” said UNCCT Programme Manager Sian Hutchinson.

Sian Hutchinson (R) highlighting objectives for day two of the workshop

The workshop discussed African research and practitioner experience on the history and evolution of terrorist and violent extremist use of communications as an operational tool in Africa. Insights were provided on specific examples of the current use of strategic communication by Africa-focused terrorist organisations, including internationally-aligned and locally based groups.
UN-CTED’s Strategic Communications Lead Mattias Sundholm introduced participants to the UN Counter Terrorism UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact and explained the complementarity of the roles of UNOCT, UN-CTED and other UN bodies and the approach to countering terrorist narratives. He also gave a brief on the Security Council resolution 2354 (2017) on Counter Narratives and discussed the current CTED-led research in support of resolution 2354.
“This is an opportunity to exchange knowledge and to share ideas about the region. Our goal, in line with our Regional Strategy, is to continue to draw from the collective experiences, comparative cases and good practices from IGAD Member States as well as other regions and parts of the world to provide useful lessons to guide the strengthening of strategic communications to tackle violent extremism ideologies,” said ICEPCVE Director, Dr. Simon Nyambura.

Dr. Simon Nyambura articulating ICEPCVE’s mandate

A second objective of the co-design was to prepare for a regional strategic communications workshop with IGAD Member States to be held in the last quarter of 2019. After identifying the existing knowledge and expertise gaps, a draft programme was developed. This included an in-depth deliberation on the training modules to be delivered.