On 1 and 2 December 2015, sixty representatives from more than twenty countries, the European Union, civil society, private sector, foundations, and research institutions gathered in Geneva, Switzerland for the third meeting of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) Governing Board.
This pivotal meeting, which reaffirmed the commitment of all stakeholders to realize GCERF’s potential to help prevent violent extremism within local communities, coincided with the end of the Fund’s first year of operations. The Board considered specific project proposals from Bangladesh, Mali, and Nigeria, which will be funded in early 2016, and approved a new round of investment in each. Additionally, the Board approved Kenya, Kosovo, and Myanmar as the next wave of countries the Fund will partner with to support grassroots initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism.
Addressing the Board in his welcoming remarks, Executive Director Dr Khalid Koser underscored the urgent need to respond to the escalating and increasingly global threat posed by violent extremism, noting that all three current GCERF pilot countries, as well as a number of donor and observer countries represented at the meeting, have experienced terrorist attacks this year.
Dialogue at the interactive two-day meeting centered on the unique niche GCERF fills as a funding mechanism that supports innovative local initiatives and bridges the development and security gap. Conversations also focused on the need to prioritize prevention and reinforce local communities’ ability to resist and rebound from violent extremist shocks.
The Chair, Ms Carol Bellamy, expressed her satisfaction that this multi-stakeholder group remained committed to supporting GCERF. Speaking directly to the Board, Dr Koser remarked, “We are a critical part of an international, comprehensive response. 2015 was our pilot year, 2016 is our year of performance.”
GCERF is a public-private partnership and Swiss foundation. It is the first global effort to support grassroots initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism and prioritize strengthening resilience at the local level.