Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism (Module 2, UNODC University Module series: Counter-Terrorism)

The series of Modules on Counter-Terrorism Education, developed within the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, aim to provide a relevant and valuable resource for lecturers teaching courses on counter-terrorism in universities and academic institutions across the world. The Modules seek to enhance students’ understanding of terrorism, its implications and related issues by providing foundational knowledge on relevant international, regional and national instruments and approaches. To increase their effectiveness, the Modules aim to connect theory to practice, encourage critical thinking, and use innovative interactive teaching approaches such as experiential learning, case studies and group-based work. The Modules are multi-disciplinary and can be integrated in a series of courses ranging from law to international relations, sociology, anthropology, criminology and many other disciplines. Whilst the primary focus is on the United Nations instruments, the Modules leave room for diverse perspectives and lecturers can easily adapt them to different local and cultural contexts.

Counter-Terrorism_module_overview_imageModule 2. Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

A central objective of any effective counter-terrorism strategy, which is true of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy 2006 (United Nations CT Strategy) and its annexed Plan of Action (General Assembly resolution 60/288) around which this University Module Series is framed, is to prevent terrorist acts from occurring. Each of the Strategy’s four pillars has a preventive role to play. Of particular relevance to this Module is Pillar I, which is concerned with “addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism”, especially its relationship with Pillar IV “Ensuring Human Rights and the Rule of Law”. Rule of law violations, including those committed by States in the course of their counter-terrorism efforts, are among some of the primary current drivers of violent extremism. In this way, the current Module builds upon Module 1, which introduced students to the concept and historical perspective of terrorism, including some of the different forms that it may take. The primary objective of this Module is to set up some key overarching themes, which are explored in more detail throughout the remainder of the University Module Series (Modules 3-14). In particular, discussion of Pillar I issues is framed around current international efforts and discourse aimed at better understanding and more effectively preventing/countering violent extremism.

Learning outcomes

Understand the “conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism”, focusing especially on preventing and countering violent extremism (PVE/CVE).

Identify and explain some of the challenges associated with current PVE/CVE efforts.

Examine and compare some of the primary United Nations, regional and multilateral approaches to PVE/CVE.

Consider some of the principal drivers of violent extremism, together with current initiatives in response to them.

Examine the relationship between “conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism” and adherence to/violations of the rule of law.

Identify and analyse some interdisciplinary perspectives on PVE/CVE issues.

The full module is avaliable at UNODC website

TopicLocal communities, Radicalization


Themes: Local communities, Radicalization