On 12 February, Mr Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec, announced that half a million dollars would be allocated to holding an international conference of high-level experts in autumn 2016. The conference, to be organized under the aegis of UNESCO, will address radicalization leading to violence and extremism through the Internet.
Made in the framework of the official visit to Canada by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the announcement is part of the follow-up to UNESCO’s first international conference "Youth and the Internet: Fighting Radicalization and Extremism,” held in June 2015 at the Organization’s Paris Headquarters.
This landmark conference, organized in the framework of its Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP), allowed participants from some 70 countries to share policy intervention experiences, initiatives and processes for promoting the use of the Internet as a tool for peace and to counter youth extremism and radicalization. The conference saw the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, launch the new UNESCO Framework for Action “Empowering Youth to Build Peace: Youth 2.0 - Building Skills, Bolstering Peace”.
On 12 February, Mr. Couillard underlined the deep commitment " to promoting the sharing of expertise based on constructive dialogue and strong partnerships in the fight against radicalization”.
As part of its efforts to counter radicalization, Quebec has developed a strategy and established a Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRMV). The Center is playing an important role in conducting research, building capacity and supporting the sharing of information and expertise across communities and government services.
UNESCO’s Director-Generl welcomed the announcement and looked forward to taking this initiative to fruition:
“UNESCO’s message is clear – we must build the defenses of peace in the minds of young women and men, including through the Internet, to promote human rights and equal dignity, to support engagement and advance narratives of humanity as a single community around shared values, to counter radicalization and violent extremism.”
The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks.