FCNL is committed to lifting up an alternative U.S. foreign policy that builds sustainable peace, respects human rights, and prevents atrocities and conflict. As we have for over a decade, FCNL joined with members of the Prevention and Protection Working Group to urge Congress to robustly fund peacebuilding in the fiscal year 2021 budget.
Dear Members of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations:
As members of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, we urge you to support robust funding in the Fiscal Year 2021 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations bill for programs to prevent and reduce violent conflict.
We know that peacebuilding and conflict prevention mechanisms not only cost significantly less than military intervention and conflict response, but also are more effective in reducing instability and protecting lives. Research by the Institute for Economics and Peace found that each dollar invested in peacebuilding saves $16 in the costs of violence, including military spending.
Your continued support of robust diplomatic and development funding remains critical to the full implementation of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocity Prevention Act of 2018 and the Global Fragility Act of 2019. The White House’s FY21 Budget request would impose a drastic 22% reduction in funding for the overall International Affairs Budget, which would severely hinder U.S. efforts to prevent and reduce violent conflict. We very much appreciate your bipartisan leadership in rejecting the dramatic and devastating cuts proposed in FY19 and FY20. We urge you to maintain overall funding levels at no less than $60 billion in base funding for the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill for FY21.
Accordingly, we urge your support for the following peacebuilding-related accounts at the funding levels listed. It is essential that funding for the prevention of violent conflict not come at the expense of other effective humanitarian and development funding.
Peacebuilding Priorities for FY21
Full implementation of the Global Fragility Act of 2019, (P.L. 116-94).
- The Prevention and Stabilization Fund supports the stabilization of conflict-affected areas and mitigation of fragility by the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), including through the Global Fragility Strategy. The Prevention and Stabilization Fund also provides assistance to areas liberated from, at risk from, or under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or other terrorist organizations. We urge no less than $200 million for the Prevention and Stabilization Fund, and that of such funds not less than $150 million be made available for programs in support of the Global Fragility Strategy.
- The Complex Crises Fund (CCF) enables USAID to prevent and respond to unforeseen crises and conflicts. It is the only account of its kind, filling immediate, short-term gaps during emergent crises. CCF is in high demand and has directly supported initiatives to prevent mass atrocities and violent conflict. It has been leveraged to deploy critical peacebuilding programs in Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique, and South Sudan to counter violent extremism, strengthen social cohesion, and facilitate dialogue. We urge no less than $50 million for CCF, and that this funding be allocated to USAID.
Full implementation of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocity Prevention Act (P.L. 115-441).
- The Atrocities Prevention Fund enables the Department of State to prevent atrocities, including by implementing recommendations of the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force. We urge no less than $10 million for the Atrocities Prevention Fund, as well as $500 thousand for Atrocities Prevention Training.
- The Conflict Stabilization Operations account supports the work of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) at the Department of State. CSO serves as the hub for the State Department’s atrocities prevention work — providing dedicated expertise, analysis, and planning in coordination with the interagency. The Bureau works with partners to break cycles of violence, strengthen civilian security, and mitigate crises. We urge no less than $14.5 million for CSO, and that this amount be specified in the language of the bill.
We also urge recognition of, and expressed support for, funding of unarmed civilian protection in Transition Initiatives and Peacekeeping Operations. Unarmed civilian protection is a proven strategy for the non-violent direct protection of civilians, localized violence reduction and supporting local peace infrastructures, in which unarmed, trained civilians live and work with local civil society in areas of violent conflict.
Thank you for your continued support and leadership for the critical work of the State Department and USAID that serves to promote American interests, prevent conflict, build peace and save lives.
Alliance for Peacebuilding
American Jewish World Service
Better World Campaign
Center for Civilians in Conflict
Charity & Security Network
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Educators’ Institute for Human Rights
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Humanity United Action
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Jewish World Watch
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Minnesota Peace Project
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church USA
Search for Common Ground
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
Stop Genocide Now
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Nations Association - USA
Win Without War
The Prevention and Protection Working Group is a coalition of peacebuilding, human rights, religious, humanitarian, and genocide and atrocity prevention 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.