In the past decade, counter-terrorism policymakers and practitioners have increasingly looked to broaden their approaches to extremist violence, moving beyond narrow, security-focused responses to ones that also address the political, economic, and social drivers of the violence. These efforts are broadly referred to as “preventing and countering violent extremism” or “P/CVE.” A key impetus for this shift has been the growing body of evidence demonstrating first, how weak governance, corruption, injustice, marginalization, exclusion, and other grievances are among the most prevalent drivers of radicalization and recruitment to extremist violence, and second, how over-securitized responses exacerbate these drivers and can propel further radicalization.

Indeed, the SDG 16 and PVE agendas have much more in common. These include: • The emphasis on strengthening civil society, particularly women and youth, and empowering local agents of change;

  • Building social cohesion and resilience, and the role that inclusive cities can play in this regard;
  • The need for government to be responsive to citizens’ needs; and
  • The importance of respecting human rights and addressing grievances and inequality.

This nexus of factors appears in other policy frameworks, ranging from the long-standing women, peace, and security agenda (WPS); and its offshoot, the youth, peace, and security agenda (YPS); to the more recent Sustaining Peace Agenda; and the World Bank’s forthcoming strategy on Fragility, Conflict, and Violence, encompassed in the concept of the social contract. These issues are further reiterated in the 2018 ‘Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies’ report, which highlighted that for SDG 16 to be fulfilled, there is an urgent need to scale up violence prevention (including extremist violence) strategies that particularly affect the most vulnerable segments of society.