Violent extremism is a major challenge to peace, sustainable development, and prosperity in the Asia region. In the last few years the nature of violent extremism has also undergone a shift towards transnationalism, correlating with our ever increasingly digital world. In particular, groups have attempted to capitalize on local conflicts and community grievances for their own means.
Since 2018, UNDP has developed projects that aim at reducing the vulnerability of countries in Asia to violent extremism, tackling the drivers of radicalization, and increasing the resilience of local communities and societies as a whole towards terrorist threats. These projects, supported by the European Union, are collectively called "Preventing Violent Extremism through Promoting Tolerance and Respect for Diversity", and include various initiatives that are implemented at both the regional and country level in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The regional office creates networks, provides technical support, facilitates knowledge exchange and implements activities with a transnational lens. The in-country work includes partnering with national institutions, government, experts and civil society to address the root causes of violent extremism specific to the country context. In Southeast Asia, UNDP also collaborates with UNOCT who provide additional support on coordinating global and regional PVE efforts and to contributing with the delivery of technical activities.
The European Union's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments is the key partner of the "Preventing Violent Extremism through Promoting Tolerance and Respect for Diversity" projects, providing funding and resources, as well as performing an advisory role for the projects' implementation.