UNESCO and Government of Quebec to cooperate on preventing radicalization and extremism through the Internet



The representatives of the Knowledge Societies Division of the Communication and Information Sector, together with the Chair of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) met yesterday with a delegation from the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters.

This meeting was held on the occasion of the visit to Paris by H.E Mrs. Christine Saint-Pierre, Quebec’s Minster of International Relations and La Francophonie. It provided an opportunity for further discussions around the cooperation initiated in 2015 within the framework of UNESCO’s actions aimed at preventing violence, extremism and radicalization of youth in cyberspace.

In June 2015, UNESCO organized, in the framework of IFAP, the first international conference entitled "Youth and the Internet: Fighting Radicalization and Extremism”. This major event allowed participants from some 70 countries to share policy intervention experiences, initiatives and processes for reducing the use of the Internet as a tool for youth extremism and radicalism. It also provided a platform for launching UNESCO’s New Framework for Action “Empowering Youth to Build Peace: Youth 2.0 - Building Skills, Bolstering Peace”. In underscoring the vital role of the Internet, the Director-General, Ms.  Bokova, urged Member States to support follow-up efforts: “we must build the defenses of peace in the minds of young women and men, and this must start also online, by mobilizing the full power of the Internet for peace”.

Condemning the tragedies provoked by violent extremism, Mrs. Saint-Pierre, expressed the interest of the Government of Quebec in responding to the appeal made by UNESCO’s Director-General by hosting a high-level international expert meeting that is to be co-organized with UNESCO and IFAP as a follow-up to the June 2015 Conference. The event would allow the Quebec Government to contribute actively to global discussions on this issue and highlight its expertise in the fight against radicalization. A preparatory expert meeting at UNESCO foreseen for June 2016 will serve to prepare UNESCO’s inputs to the international conference in Quebec.

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.