Second Senior Level Regional Course on the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) for Member States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

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As part of their Joint Framework Programme for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (2020-2023), the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT/CAERT) and the Peace and Human Rights Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (PHRD/FDFA) organised the Second Senior level Regional Course on the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) in Central Africa, in response to requests submitted by the authorities of several ECCAS Member States.

Member States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) have designed and implemented responses to terrorism and violent extremism. However, despite their best efforts, these measures have not helped curb the violence and the threats. The Senior Level course, which is the second of its kind to take place in the region, is aimed at providing the participating Member States’ key stakeholders in the prevention and countering of violent extremism with a framework to take ownership of the preventative approach which puts human security and dialogue at the centre of PVE implementation approaches/initiatives.

The Course is being attended by Representatives of ECCAS Member States, decision-makers and advisors at managerial level in the areas of defence, security, intelligence services, justice, social affairs, diplomacy and international relations, Parliament, elected local government officials, NGOs, civil society, research centres (public and private) and any other area or public/private institution involved in the design and implementation of responses to terrorism and violent extremism in the Central Africa Region. Moreover, PVE Experts, from the region and beyond, are also participating in the course to support module facilitation, including partners of the ACSRT and from the Initiative of Regional Conversations for PVE led by PHRD/FDFA.

During the opening session, the Government of Gabon was represented by Ambassador Aristide EBANG, who officially launched the course and delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Gabon, His Excellency Mr. Michael MOUSSA ADAMO. He welcomed the delegates to Gabon and Libreville and expressed the government’s appreciation to the AU, through the ACSRT as well as the PHRD/FDFA, for the organization of the Second Regional Course on Gabonese soil. According to Amb. EBANG, the Second Joint Program on the Prevention of Violent Extremism, which follows the first which was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in August 2019, offers ECCAS Member States the opportunity to deepen the reflection on the necessary tools to be implemented to counter the security threats that weigh on the security and development of the Central African region.

Colonel Christian Emmanuel MOUAYA POUYI, Acting Head of Training and Equipment Unit, ACSRT chaired the session and gave opening remarks on behalf of the AUC. He, in the process, highlighted the progress made by the Commission, through its counter terrorism technical body – ACSRT, on efforts to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism in Africa. He also reiterated the ACSRT’s capacity building mandate that entails conducting training programmes aimed at supporting the efforts of the AUMS.

Ms. Carol MOTTET, Senior Advisor at the PHRD/FDFA- who represented the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, underscored the Swiss Government’s resolve to contribute to achieving sustainable peace on the African Continent as a prelude to peace, security, stability, and development at the international level. She reiterated that, since 2015, the Swiss PHRD/FDFA has been conducting series of initiatives together with its partners on the African continent, particularly through the ‘Regional Conversations on the Prevention of Violent Extremism. She shared that, since 2016, about thirty such meetings have occurred in West, Central, and North Africa, thereby cumulating a good 2000 participants from all quarters of societies.

At the end of the course, participants are expected to gain a deeper common knowledge of VE and terrorism issues, as well as other related types of violence and the drivers and causes that contribute to their occurrence and rise/decline. They would also be exposed to dialogue, working with multiple stakeholders, and the human security approach as essential tools in the prevention and countering of violent extremism.