Countries need to develop comprehensive national action plans that not merely counter but prevent violent extremism, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday as he presented a set of recommendations.
Presenting his report to the UN General Assembly, Ban urged countries to tailor policies to their needs and social contexts and root out the causes of extremism.
"Many years of experience have proven that short-sighted policies, failed leadership, heavy-handed approaches, a single-minded focus only on security measures and an utter disregard for human rights have often made things worse," Ban said.
"Let us never forget: Terrorist groups are not just seeking to unleash violent action, but to provoke a harsh reaction."
Ban's plan of action, which has a total of 70 recommendations, focuses on the key areas of prevention including strengthening good governance; engaging communities and the youth; empowering women; improving education; and strengthening strategic communication, especially through the Internet.
The UN chief stressed that prevention requires breaking down the barriers separating security, development and human rights both within countries and across borders.
"Above all, the plan is an urgent call to unity and action," Ban said.
Switzerland has announced that it would host an international conference to discuss the plan of action in Geneva in April.