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FCNL, Alliance for Peacebuilding, and Search for Common Ground drafted a letter urging Congress to provide robust support for foreign assistance focused on preventing and mitigating conflict in a new COVID-19 supplemental funding package. The letter, which was signed by 69 other organizations, emphasizes that COVID-19 is not only a public health emergency, but also an economic crisis that could trigger conflict globally.

Dear Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs,

We, the 72 undersigned organizations, write to urge robust support to foreign assistance, including assistance focused on preventing and mitigating conflict, in a new COVID-19 supplemental funding package. While we appreciate the $2.37 billion appropriated thus far for foreign assistance, it is insufficient to meet the current needs of the COVID-19 pandemic response, and is only a sixth of what leading experts estimate Congress should appropriate. This crisis is not only a public health emergency but is also decimating economies and exacerbating conflict dynamics in its wake. While current domestic needs remain substantial, the U.S. must continue to be a global leader in foreign assistance to contain a pandemic that knows no borders.

The pandemic is more than just a health crisis - it is stabilization in reverse. Fragility and violent conflict were on the rise prior to the pandemic, and this crisis is increasing conflict dynamics in these already destabilized regions. Already, violence is increasing and peace processes are under threat. Additionally, repressive governments are exploiting the crisis to further restrict civil society space and democratic institutions – which in turn is exacerbating conflict dynamics and creating grievances that are increasing levels of violence and conflict, with a particularly devastating impact on already marginalized communities.

Congress must provide much needed emergency assistance for conflict-affected and fragile states to assist in the effective prevention and mitigation of the pandemic in this funding package. It is critical to mobilize new assistance now rather than wait for future packages, as the needs are urgent and conflict prevention must be at the heart of the pandemic response strategy rather than solely a second order issue. All around the world, peacebuilders are quickly adapting with bold initiatives to address the health, social, and political impacts of COVID-19 in their communities and countries. Peacebuilders are ensuring conflict sensitive distribution of aid and healthcare, adapting their approaches for online engagement, applying lessons learned from previous epidemics such as Ebola, and developing new ways to distribute reliable information. Peacebuilders are collaborating across sectors to catalyze positive change and address inefficiencies and inequalities. These efforts are crucial in alleviating grievances, preventing violence and building peace, and supporting an effective response to COVID-19 in conflict-affected countries.

To prevent violence, reduce conflict dynamics accelerated by the pandemic, and support the peacebuilding and conflict prevention work that remains essential despite the pandemic, the following State and Foreign Operations accounts are critical:

  • 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.
  • The Atrocities Prevention Fund enables the Department of State to prevent atrocities,including by implementing recommendations of the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force.This account is particularly critical as we have seen the rising levels of atrocity earlywarning signs increase as social cohesion fractures and minority groups are treated asscapegoats during this pandemic.
  • Transition Initiatives funds the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) at USAID. OTI’spartnership mechanism is unique at USAID and allows it to seize emerging windows ofopportunity to promote stability by catalyzing local initiatives through adaptive and agileprogramming. OTI works in fragile and conflict-affected contexts to kickstartpeacebuilding, reconciliation and democratic reforms which lay the groundwork for long-term development.
  • The Human Rights and Democracy Fund functions as a “venture capital fund” fordemocracy and human rights, enabling the State Department to respond quickly andflexibly to changing needs and opportunities to advance democracy and promote humanrights.
  • The Prevention and Stabilization Fund supports the stabilization of conflict-affected areasand mitigation of fragility by the Department of State and USAID, including through theGlobal Fragility Strategy, as mandated in the Global Fragility Act (P.L. 116-94). No lessthan three-quarters of this fund should be dedicated to programs in support of the Global Fragility Strategy.

Again, we urge Congress to include robust foreign assistance funding to prevent and contain the global pandemic and to specifically support conflict prevention and peacebuilding accounts that are critical to preventing and reducing violence and violent conflict which is accelerating due to the pandemic. The organizations that support this letter are available to answer questions or concerns and to share additional information from peacebuilders on the frontlines.

Thank you for your time and dedicated service.


Alliance for Middle East Peace
Alliance for Peacebuilding
American Friends Service Committee
American Jewish World Service
The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities
Beyond Conflict The Borgen Project
The Bridgeway Group
The Carter Center
CDA Collaborative Learning Center for Civil Society and Democracy for Syria
Center for Civilians in Conflict
Center for International Policy
Center for Policy Analysis for Horn of Africa
Charity & Security Network
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Counterpart International
Cure Violence Global
Darfur Women Action Group
DT Global
The Educators’ Institute for Human Rights
Equal Access International
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faiths for Safe Water
FHI 360
Food for the Hungry
Freedom House
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Generations For Peace
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Global Peace Foundation
International Alert
International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
Invisible Children
Jewish World Watch
Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mercy Corps
Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Never Again Coalition
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Oasis Network for Community Transformation
One Earth Future
Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding
Parallel Networks
Pax Christi USA
Peace Catalyst International
Peace Direct
Peace Initiative Network
Plan International USA
Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Syracuse University Maxwell School
Search for Common Ground
Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
Women In International Security (WIIS)
Women for Afghan Women
Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation
Women’s Action for New Directions
World Renew
Young-Adult Empowerment Initiative

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