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FCNL has been a leading voice in support of the Complex Crises Fund (CCF)—a critical account for conflict prevention—since the fund was created over a decade ago.  

This year we are seeing positive results across the board, as the Biden Administration, House, and Senate all have recommended increased investments in the CCF.

The CCF allows the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to swiftly and flexibly respond to early warning signs of conflict and crisis. Unlike many other funds, which are programmed months to over a year in advance, the CCF can be used on short notice to interrupt deteriorating situations before mass violence and armed conflict take hold. The CCF is also used to seize unexpected windows of opportunity to strengthen peace in fragile states.

Despite the obvious and growing need for such funding, its levels have remained flat for years. After an initial appropriation of $50 million, for the last six years Congress has allocated just $30 million annually to this critical account. To rectify this situation, FCNL has been working with the Prevention and Protection Working Group and other peacebuilding organizations to build congressional understanding and support for this account.

This year we are seeing positive results across the board, as the president’s budget request, the House-passed global affairs budget and now the Senate’s initial appropriations bill all have recommended increased investments in the CCF.

On Oct. 18, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT) released a draft Fiscal Year 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill. This version includes $60.56 billion to fund U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance efforts, including $4.2 billion for international organizations, human rights promotion, peacebuilding and atrocity prevention.

These critical investments save taxpayer dollars and, ultimately, lives.

Most excitingly, the bill includes $60 million for the CCF, which if enacted would be the highest level ever appropriated. FCNL and our coalition partners have been urging Congress to appropriate $60 million to the CCF for several years and we are heartened by the Senate bill’s inclusion of our full request.

Now the House and Senate are expected to begin behind-the-scenes negotiations on a final spending package that must be reached in the next two months. While these appropriations bills haven’t made many headlines, with important conversations on infrastructure and the reconciliation package leading the news, they are a major component of our work on peacebuilding.

The CCF is the only tool of its kind. We will continue to lobby congressional negotiators to maintain the full $60 million for the CCF and other key peacebuilding accounts. These relatively small investments—the State Department and USAID budgets represent only 8% of the amount we spend each year on the Pentagon and less than 10% of State Department and USAID budgets are dedicated to peacebuilding—enable the U.S. government to address emerging conflicts before a crisis develops. These critical investments save taxpayer dollars and, ultimately, lives.

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

Legislative Director, Peacebuilding

Ursala is the legislative director for peacebuilding. She lobbies Congress to establish peacebuilding as a central goal of U.S. foreign policy.