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Regional Dialogue on Multi-Sectoral Partnership to Prevent Violent Extremism & EWERS Report at UNODC Training

November 29, 2023 @ 8:00 am November 30, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Penang, 29-30 November 2023 – The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (UNODC-ROSEAP) organised the Regional Dialogue on Multi-Sectoral Partnership aimed to to advance the collective regional response to violent extremism and promote the development of more resilient communities in Southeast Asia. The format of the conferences focused on opportunities and threats analyses, best practices identification, research findings sharing, and partnership strategising. INITIATE.MY was invited to speak in several sessions of this dialogue in this workshop. 

Hisham Muhaimi, Project Coordinator of INITIATE.MY joined other UNODC consultants from Indonesia and the Philippines in the session “Exploring Government and Civil Society Collaboration in PCVE”. Hisham’s presentation focused  on the Malaysian context based on the 7 series of national workshops in Malaysia held between May to September 2023. The workshop series focused on community engagement and strategic communications involving enforcement officials, government agencies, civil society, academia, media practitioners, and students. Read more.. 

Hisham highlighted the ongoing challenges that impede meaningful collaboration between government entities and civil society organisations (CSOs). He emphasised the government has a pivotal role in allocating more funding and resources specifically dedicated to PCVE initiatives. One approach to overcome this challenge is by prioritising PCVE in the national budget allocation. Then dedicated funding streams or grant applications can be ensured for both government agencies and CSOs to have access to financial support for joint initiatives. He also recommended that capacity building training should be a regular effort to empower both government agencies and CSOs with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively engage in PCVE initiatives. By investing in this effort, Malaysia can move towards a collaborative approach in addressing the complex challenges posed by violent extremism.

In another session, Aizat Shamsuddin, Founder of INITIATE.MY, participated in a panel discussion alongside distinguished speakers from Indonesia and the Philippines, focusing on the Early Warning and Early Response System (EWERS). He emphasised EWERS as a crucial framework and tool for comprehensive assessment of violent extremism risks. This approach enables the early identification of risks, facilitating timely and appropriate responses to prevent escalation.

Drawing from INITIATE.MY’s extensive research and training initiatives with law enforcement, Aizat posited that EWERS can be effectively adapted by various stakeholders according to their specific organisational mandates and requirements. This approach allows for the decentralisation of responsibilities in addressing violent extremism risks by reducing the burden traditionally placed on police alone.

In alignment with the Malaysian government’s development of the National Action Plan on Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism (NAPPCVE), Aizat proposed three key strategies: Firstly, continued investment in the research and development of collaborative EWERS is vital to address any gaps. Secondly, investing in training programmes to enhance the capabilities of EWERS implementers. Lastly, fostering cross-sectoral trust to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of these collaborative efforts in countering violent extremism.

Hisham Muhaimi (second from right), Project Coordinator at INITIATE.MY was sharing his insights on the space for collaboration between government and civil societies in the effort to prevent violent