New York, 24 June 2023 — The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) took part in a side event to discuss the role of youth in preventing violent extremism (PVE) through sport hosted by the Global Sports Programme led by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and its partners — the State of Qatar, the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and the ICSS.
The event, which took place at the UN headquarters on the margins of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism week, shed light on the collaborative nature of the efforts to prevent violent extremism through sport, by gathering member states, UN entities, athletes, youth representatives, regional organizations, and media to address the pivotal role of youth and institutional cooperation in the use of sport for PVE.
Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism highlighted the role of sport as a powerful tool for peace and development. “Sport has immense potential in helping to build a lasting legacy of peace and positive values, which are critical for sustainable responses to terrorism and violent extremism.” He further emphasized the capacity of youth as agents of change in their communities, stressing that “Young people are critical to building resilient societies and ensuring lasting solidarity, through mechanisms such as sports, which push people to be better, aim higher and reach further.”
Massimiliano Montanari, CEO of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS): “Youth represents both beneficiaries and key players in making the outskirts of the world better places to live, and in mitigating or removing those factors which can push other youth towards violent extremism. It is, however, essential not to leave them alone. To this end, we need to promote long-term programmatic approaches and link as much as possible Sport for PVE initiatives to the larger development and peace agenda, in order to enhance their impact and sustainability.”
UNAOC, on behalf of Sports Programme partners presented the working document for the Policy Recommendations on PVE-Through-Sport from a Youth Perspective, which reflects the findings of a series of regional fora between youth leaders and senior policymakers to incorporate youth insights into the national action plans to address violent extremism using sports.
The event also featured a panel discussion on the #MoreThanAGame Campaign and on how to strengthen the crucial role played by youth in effective PVE policymaking between youth participants, representatives of the African Union Sport Council, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (International Federation of Professional Footballers - FIFPRO).