Remarks at a UN Arria-Formula Meeting Co-Sponsored by the United States on Preventing Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
July 28, 2021


Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman Juan Ramón. And the United States is pleased to co-sponsor today’s discussion with Mexico, Estonia, Norway, and the United Kingdom. We thank Ms. Abdi Ali for the work she is doing in Kenya and across East Africa to amplify the voices of women in building peace and security, and preventing and countering violent extremism. We are also grateful for the participation of Dr. Duriesmith and CTED Executive Director Coninsx. Thank you all very much for your interesting and thought-provoking presentations.

When the United States passed the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 we became the first country in the world to have a comprehensive law aimed at improving the participation of women in peace and security processes, conflict prevention, peace building, and decision-making institutions in line with Security Council Resolution 1325. This was followed, two years later, by the U.S. Women, Peace, and Security Strategy, which advanced our efforts a bit further. The Strategy focuses on ensuring women are empowered to contribute to and lead peace and security efforts, and they’re equipped with the skills and resources to succeed.

And following that, in 2018, the United States released a Strategy to Support Women and Girls at Risk from Violent Extremism and Conflict. This strategy aims to limit the destabilizing effects of violent extremism, including the risks it poses to women and girls, by supporting them as actors in preventing terrorist radicalization in their families, communities, countries, and online. The strategy also recognizes that men are not the only ones at risk of radicalization. It looks to prevent women and girls from being radicalized. And for those who have already been impacted by radicalization, it underscores the importance of targeted programs to intervene, disengage, rehabilitate, and reintegrate women foreign terrorist fighters.

It’s important that we recognize the role that gender stereotypes play in radicalization. In June, the White House released our first National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, which highlights the threat from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism. It notes the need for specialized analysis, including on ways gender-motivated violence can have implications for domestic terrorist threats. So, in our view, the international community must focus more on addressing how gender norms – including conceptions of masculinity – play a role in recruiting, maintaining, and expanding the influence of violent extremists.

We have created gender analysis tools to better understand how gender norms, and societal conceptions of masculinity and femininity, contribute to conflict and violence. And we would urge Member States to similarly expand the application of gender analyses to inform their domestic and foreign policy strategies on countering violent extremism and terrorism. Similarly, we encourage the UN to develop gender analysis tools and guidance specific to violent extremism and terrorism.

The United States will continue our efforts to advance our understanding of this complex issue – it’s a blind spot none of us can afford to ignore. And, of course, we look forward to collaborating with UN and Member States to develop and advance more effective approaches to counter violent extremism and terrorism.

Thank you very much.