The Prevention and Protection Working Group (PPWG) is a coalition of human rights, religious, humanitarian, anti-genocide, and peace organizations dedicated to improving U.S. government policies and civilian capacities to prevent violent conflict, avert mass atrocities, and protect civilians threatened by such crises.
NOTE: The Alliance for Peacebuilding assumed leadership of the Prevention and Protection Working Group (PPWG) in January 2023. Please visit their website for updates and resources on PPWG’s work.
The group was instrumental in supporting the creation of the Complex Crises Fund, the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force (formerly known as Atrocity Prevention Board), and the State Department’s Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations. The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act was enacted largely due to the efforts of the PPWG and its members. The PPWG also strongly supported the Global Fragility Act (GFA) Coalition in its successful advocacy for enactment of the Global Fragility Act.
As the PPWG coordinator, FCNL is responsible for crafting a collaborative advocacy agenda that assists in the prevention of atrocities and violent conflict and protects civilians at risk. The group focuses on U.S. government structures and resources that support these goals on a global basis, and has issued conflict-specific recommendations for Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Kashmir, and Burma/Myanmar.
As the PPWG coordinator, FCNL is responsible for crafting a collaborative advocacy agenda.
Currently the PPWG holds regular consultations with the dozens of U.S. government agencies and departments that participate in the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force, advocating for strengthened implementation of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act and early action to prevent potential atrocity events and promote peace.
PPWG also has provided recommendations to the Task Force for integrating atrocity prevention into plans, budgets, and programs under the Global Fragility Act. Members of PPWG regularly visit Capitol Hill to educate Members on current and emerging conflicts, the steps that are needed to protect civilians, and the status and effectiveness of U.S. government efforts.
In addition, the PPWG continues to advocate for expanded funding for atrocity prevention and peacebuilding accounts.
See our current funding asks for fiscal year 2023:
Download our funding ask for fiscal year 2023:
Learn more about the peacebuilding funds we support here:
PPWG has formed two subcommittees, one focused on implementation of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act and another to undertake advocacy on specific conflicts.
Subcommittee on Implementation of the Elie Wiesel Act
After enactment of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act in 2019, PPWG members have worked to ensure its proper implementation. The legislation mandates training of Foreign Service officers to identify and document potential risks of atrocity crimes, and requires annual reports to Congress on current U.S. government efforts to prevent and respond to atrocities.
The subcommittee has been instrumental in identifying key gaps and additional resources needed to ensure that the U.S. government is treating atrocity prevention as a core national security interest. The full PPWG then uses the subcommittee’s analysis and recommendations in its regular meetings with U.S. government officials responsible for implementing and overseeing the Act. The key reports produced by the subcommittee are linked below:
Subcommittee on Conflict Specific Advocacy
Members of the Conflict-Specific Advocacy Subcommittee collaborate on developing conflict prevention and peacebuilding recommendations geared towards particular settings. The Subcommittee has produced several conflict assessments highlighting priority steps to reduce the risk of genocide and atrocities and to build support for peace.
In addition to describing the conflicts and risks associated with an area or country of focus, each assessment includes a list of recommendations for the administration to step up its efforts to prevent violent conflict, reduce the risk of atrocity crimes, and mitigate harm to civilians.
The Subcommittee has briefed executive branch departments and agencies on specific conflicts and provided recommendations, vetted by local peacebuilders, in Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, South Sudan, and Kashmir.
From Atrocities Prevention Board to Atrocity Early Warning Task Force
The Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) was established under the Obama administration in 2012, with a primary mission “to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide.” After the enactment of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, signed by President Trump in January 2019, the APB was renamed Atrocity Early Warning Task Force (“Task Force”).
The Task Force remains a working group of administration officials, including representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Mission to the United Nations, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and more.
The primary mission of the Task Force is to ensure that mass atrocities prevention is a priority at the highest levels of the government. The Task Force is mandated “to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide.” Although significant progress has been made to ensure a more coherent response, gaps remain. FCNL is working to fill these gaps and build on the momentum of the past six years.
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