Cross-sectional study on prevention and violent extremism in the Francophone space

Courses of action and recommendations presented to the Member States of La Francophonie

On March 7, 2022, the UNESCO Chair in the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Extremism (UNESCO-PREV) presented to the Political Commission of the International Organization of La Francophonie the results of a study on the prevention of violent extremism in the Francophone space.

This collective research, carried out by a consortium of five French-speaking research centers from the South and the North, is part of a context marked by a rise in violent radicalization and extremism within the Francophone space for several years. Through documentary reviews and field surveys, the study analyzes the prevention strategies, programs and tools implemented in several Francophone countries. It also formulates courses of action to respond to identified prevention needs.

At the request of the Francophone Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism that could lead to Terrorism (FrancoPREV) and the International Organization of La Francophonie, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Centre de ressources et d’appui du Réseau de prise en charge des extrémis et des radicalismes violents (CRÉA), the Centre africain d’études internationales, diplomatiques, économiques et stratégiques (CEIDES), and the Applied Social Sciences Forum (ASSF) have jointly carried out this research under the overall coordination of the UNESCO-PREV Chair. It was supported by the OIF, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and the Government of Quebec.

Thus, each research institution produced an analysis report for the targeted countries, namely Tunisia, Morocco, Togo, Niger, Cameroon, Belgium and Canada. The UNESCO-PREV Chair then wrote a synthesis report presenting a cross-cutting analysis of the study and issued recommendations to regional and international organizations and governments. Adib Bencherif and David Morin, both professors at the University of Sherbrooke’s School of Applied Politics, and Lydie C. Belporo, a doctoral candidate at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal, wrote this cross-cutting report. 

“We are very pleased to present the fruit of this considerable teamwork carried out in partnership with our African and Belgian colleagues in a context complicated by deteriorating security and covid-19. The results of this large-scale study seem to us to offer many avenues for reflection and concrete actions to the various actors on the ground which we hope will be useful to them in dealing with the rise of violent extremism.”

David Morin, professor at the School of Applied Politics at the UdeS and co-holder of theUNESCO-PREV Chair.

The final study took into account all the country reports and drew up findings, issues and courses of action based on evidence and rooted in the values of the Francophonie. This synthesis is a valuable tool that will be brought to the attention of the member states and governments of the Francophonie to enable them to better develop effective and relevant action strategies.


Article by Chaire UNESCO-PREV

Cas de la Belgique

This status report of the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism in French-speaking Belgium and in the Brussels region aims to be descriptive and synthetic. It presents the current form that the prevention of radicalization has taken, the tensions that continue to cross it, but also the good practices that have been implemented from the point of view of the actors in the field. This overhanging cartography attempts to identify the coherence of what has been achieved in French-speaking Belgium in this area.

Cas du Cameroun

This study required the use of documentary resources to review the literature and fieldwork to collect empirical data. The study identified state and non-state mechanisms for preventing radicalization and violent extremism according to the levels of prevention in which they operate. The aim was to ensure that the missions, programs, projects and activities implemented by public, private and international entities were in line with the conceptual framework and the objectives pursued in terms of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

Cas du CanadaAlthough there have not been many terrorist attacks in Canada, this growing concern has resulted in a shift in public policy from an exclusive focus on homeland security and counter-terrorism to a strategy that encourages the progressive incorporation of psychosocial components of prevention and the promotion of programs that focus on a public health approach. This shift has allowed for the implementation of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention programs that target both virtual and physical space, as well as the development of multi-sectoral collaboration models. It has also facilitated an increase in the institutionalization of public policies.

Cas du MarocThis report contributes to the assessment of the Moroccan national strategy for the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism. It also consists in putting forward lines of action and reflections on the prevention mechanisms and their implementation system. This work is based on institutional initiatives and puts into perspective the main tools, programs and intervention approaches in the fields of prevention of violent extremism. This report focuses on the study of institutional programs implemented since 2004. The analysis presents the different tools and programs deployed by the Kingdom of Morocco as part of its prevention strategy and the institutional intervention approaches in this area.

Cas du NigerNiger has initiated a process of developing a national strategy in response to various national, regional and international impulses. This report is organized into nine parts. The first part presents Niger's national strategy for the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism. The second section analyzes non-state prevention programs implemented in Niger. The third section examines the involvement of youth and women in the programs. The fourth and fifth sections describe the role of digital technology and the rule of law in prevention efforts. The sixth section discusses the evaluation of prevention programs against violent radicalization and extremism in Niger. The last three parts identify the specific issues and challenges faced by prevention actors, the findings and lessons learned, and possible courses of action.

Cas du TogoThe recurrence of violent incidents in Burkina, not far from Togo's border areas, and awareness of the activities of extremist groups in Benin, convinced Togolese authorities to take measures to contain the threat outside the country's borders. The military and security measures were then expanded to include the development of a set of laws on decentralization and internal security to adapt the legal framework to emerging threats, including violent extremism. The establishment of the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention and Fight against Violent Extremism (CIPLEV) in 2019 has thus completed the Togolese system by enriching it with an essentially civilian dimension.

Cas de la TunisieConducted from the perspective of developing multi-actor and multi-actor prevention, this study raises a series of questions related to the objectives of the preventive component of the national strategy to combat violent extremism. It takes stock of the "gaps" and dysfunctions between the state's resilience strategy (as a form of sustainable prevention) and its action and strategic planning in a context of cooperation with CSOs. From a collaborative perspective, this study describes the different components of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Finally, the role of women and youth in these arrangements is given special attention, as well as the state's collaboration with local organizations and international agencies.