1. Update
  2. Peacebuilding

Congress Supports Peacebuilding in FY2020 Spending Package

By Ursala Knudsen-Latta , December 17, 2019

In a powerful show of support for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, House and Senate negotiators have adopted the Global Fragility Act of 2019 (S. 727) and increased funding for several key peacebuilding accounts as part of the final FY2020 spending package.

The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 is expected to clear Congress and be signed into law by the president later this week.

Global Fragility Act

The Global Fragility Act, first introduced in the House in April, aims to protect U.S. national security and limit the need for costly military interventions by addressing the root causes of violent conflict.

To do this, the act mandates the president to establish a comprehensive and integrated ten-year strategy addressing long-term causes of fragility and violence. This strategy is to be established in coordination with the secretary of state, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the secretary of defense. The act also authorizes $1.15 billion over the next five years to carry out the Global Fragility Strategy in at least five priority countries and regions.

We believe violence is not the answer and only worsens problems in the long run. This is why we are strong proponents of the Global Fragility Act.

FCNL Executive Secretary Diane Randall welcomed the news. “As Quakers, we are always in search of peaceful, diplomatic solutions to conflicts around the world,” she said. “We believe violence is not the answer and only worsens problems in the long run. This is why we are strong proponents of the Global Fragility Act. The best way to stop armed conflict worldwide is to make sure it does not begin in the first place. Preventing conflict is worth the investment.

This success is in large part due to the hard work of FCNL constituents across the country who lobbied their senators and representatives in favor of the Global Fragility Act. From March through October of this year, nearly 2,500 people from almost 400 congressional districts sent over 7,500 letters to 364 representatives and 98 senators!

Funding for Peacebuilding

President Donald Trump once again proposed drastic funding cuts for key peacebuilding accounts. And once again, Congress rejected his cuts.

The final spending package for FY2020 increases funding to the State Department, USAID, and other international programs by $467 million over last year, and is a whopping $11.3 billion above the president’s request.

Out of the $54.7 billion in total funding for diplomacy and development efforts, peacebuilding and conflict prevention accounts received $3.476 billion, about a $142 million increase over last year. The package also includes funding for 25,000 civil service and foreign service officers, restoring State Department and USAID personnel to 2016 levels.

Table: Differences in funding for peacebuilding accounts in FY2020.

FCNL has consistently lobbied Congress to robustly fund these accounts. We know that peacebuilding and conflict prevention not only cost significantly less than military intervention and conflict response, but also are more effective in reducing instability and saving lives.


Preventing Violent Conflict

We are changing U.S. foreign policy from one that is overly militarized to one that prevents, mitigates, and transforms violent conflict. We focus on peacefully preventing and ending violent conflict and reforming U.S. counterterrorism policy. By building support in Congress and the administration, we are increasing civilian capacities through the State Department and USAID to address violent conflict and extremism.

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

  • Legislative Representative, Peacebuilding

Ursala is the Legislative Representative for Peacebuilding. Ursala lobbies Congress to change U.S. foreign policy from an overly militarized and security-driven approach to one that prevents, mitigates, and transforms violent conflict and builds sustainable peace.