Europe

At conference, UN's Ban pushes against violent extremism

  • United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference after the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference after the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, left, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon address a news conference after the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, left, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon address a news conference after the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, right, shakes hands with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, left, at the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, right, shakes hands with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, left, at the Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the world needs to focus more on the root causes of terrorism, saying "when you have to counter terrorism, it's too late."

The U.N. chief said the Islamic State group and other radical groups "are now spreading like a cancer around the world."

Ban spoke to reporters Friday near the end of a Swiss- and U.N.-sponsored conference in Geneva on countering violent extremism, which can develop into terrorism Officials say the two-day meeting is the U.N.'s first of its kind focusing on upstream terrorism prevention.

"Of course, 15 years ago there were terrorist attacks," Ban said, "but not as often, not as many, not as widely spread like this."

He alluded to aspects like alienated, jobless youth; violence against women; and technological know-how of extremists.