1. Letter
  2. Peacebuilding

26 Organizations Urge Ambassador Haley to Support Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

February 28, 2017


The Prevention and Protection Working Group – a coalition of organizations dedicated to improving U.S. Government policies to prevent violent conflict, avert mass atrocities, and protect civilians – write to urge Ambassador Haley to support for the United Nations’ critical work on conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

February 27, 2017

Ambassador Nikki Haley

Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations

United States Mission to the United Nations

799 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

Dear Ambassador Haley:

As members of the Prevention and Protection Working Group – a coalition of organizations dedicated to improving U.S. Government policies to prevent violent conflict, avert mass atrocities, and protect civilians – we write to urge your support for the United Nations’ critical work on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. These types of activities support a more secure, stable and peaceful global environment; promote essential U.S. foreign policy and national security interests; help avert more costly types of unilateral intervention; and advance deeply-held American values and moral leadership.

The UN’s work on conflict and atrocities prevention and response takes a variety of forms and advances U.S. interests in different ways. For example:

  • UN Department of Political Affairs supports diplomacy, mediation, and political analysis to help prevent and resolve violent conflict. Their focus on prevention and diplomatic solutions is much cheaper and more effective at securing long-term peace than armed intervention. The Secretary-General’s Office of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and Responsibility to Protect acts as a catalyst to raise awareness about genocide and mass atrocities, to alert relevant actors and to mobilize for appropriate action.

  • UN Peacebuilding Support Office is working to advance the Secretary-General’s emphasis on greater integration of conflict prevention into the work and goals of every department and agency by coordinating the development of a report on “Sustaining Peace” that is due later this year. The Peacebuilding Support Fund, managed by the PBSO, has assisted over 30 conflict-affected countries to avoid relapse into violent conflict, including by ensuring there is sufficient support to jumpstart reconciliation and development.

  • UN Peacekeeping Operations play a vital role in protecting civilians from harm, preventing the resurgence of conflict, reducing displacement, restoring and maintaining the rule of law, and fostering stable governing institutions and free and fair elections. The stabilization activities undertaken by UN peacekeeping missions reduce the security burden on the U.S. and are overall eight times cheaper than U.S. armed intervention, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office [1].

The UN is at an important inflection point. Devastating conflicts in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen, among other countries, have spawned humanitarian disasters, soaring levels of forced displacement, and placed immense stress on the ability of the international community to respond. In light of these and other challenges, it is vital that the U.S. continues to support reforms that will make the UN more effective, nimble, and efficient.

Fortunately, the U.S. has a strong ally in these efforts in UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who has a long record of reforming and improving the performance of large and complex multilateral institutions. Now is the time to engage robustly and constructively with the Secretary-General to achieve these ends, and avoid counterproductive actions, such as withholding financial support for the UN and its plethora of agencies and programs, that will only serve to isolate the U.S. on the world stage and stymie efforts to achieve true reform. Secretary-General Guterres has underlined prevention as a key priority during his tenure. We hope the U.S. will support this to the fullest.

During your confirmation hearing last month, you repeatedly stated your opposition to applying a “slash-and-burn” approach to UN funding. We could not agree more and applaud your clear statement of support for maintaining our financial commitments to the UN. We therefore urge you to continue to use your position and influence with Congress to support policies that allow the U.S. to keep its seat at the table and position of leadership in New York to address issues of conflict and atrocity prevention.

Thank you for your consideration. We will reach out in follow up to this letter to request a meeting to further discuss concerns specific to violent conflict, and ways that we can work with you to support prevention.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Peacebuilding

American Values Network

Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation

Better World Campaign

Carl Wilkens Fellowship

Center for Development of International Law

Darfur and Beyond

Enough Project

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Human Rights Watch

iACT

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect

Invisible Children

Jewish World Watch

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Mercy Corps

Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

Pax Christi

Peace Direct

Peacebuilding Connections

Refugees International

Saferworld

STAND: The Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy

The Prevention and Protection Working Group (PPWG) is a coalition of human rights, religious, humanitarian, anti-genocide, peace and other organizations dedicated to improving U.S. government policies and civilian capacities to prevent violent conflict, mass atrocities and protect civilians threatened by such crises.

[1] http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06331.pdf


Download the letter here.