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PM announces £5 million for Commonwealth counter-extremism unit

(London Post)   David Cameron unveils funding to strengthen countries’ ability to counter extremist narrative as the Commonwealth Summit begins in Malta.

  • £1 million a year for 5 years to help fund new Commonwealth counter-extremism unit
  • Unit to focus on strengthening ability of Commonwealth countries to counter extremist narrative
  • Additional £200,000 seed funding to expand European counter-radicalisation youth network to include the Commonwealth

The Prime Minister will announce £5 million to establish and support a new Commonwealth unit to counter extremism as he attends the Commonwealth Summit in Malta, which gets underway today.

As part of the government’s comprehensive strategy for tackling extremism, the Prime Minister wants to increase co-operation with countries around the world to share best practice and identify new approaches to countering poisonous ideologies.

A team of experts will be seconded into a new unit in the Commonwealth Secretariat to work with civil society networks and Commonwealth governments in support of national, regional and international counter-extremism strategies. One of the top priorities for the new unit will be to develop capacity-building through non-governmental organisations.

This government is committed to working with Commonwealth countries to tackle the common threat posed by violent extremism.

The unit will support work in all Commonwealth countries, in particular those facing a disproportionately high number of foreign fighters and which might not have adequate counter-extremism resources of their own, including by facilitating technical counter-terrorism expertise.

In conjunction with this new counter-extremism unit, the Prime Minister has also announced £200,000 of seed funding to expand the recently-established European counter-radicalisation youth network to include all Commonwealth countries. The newly-expanded youth network will capitalise on the organisation’s existing networks to support moderate youth voices in countering violent extremist messaging.

Speaking ahead of the gathering of Commonwealth countries in Malta today, the Prime Minister said:

The fight against extremism is something that affects us all. The Commonwealth has a vital role to play in broadening international efforts to counter extremism. Its civil society and education networks make it particularly well placed to complement international efforts to build counter narratives to this poisonous extremist ideology.

This is the struggle of our generation, but by working together we will defeat this extremist scourge that is a threat to us all.

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