Refugee Crisis Underscores Need to Prevent Violent Conflict
If President Obama and world leaders concerned about today’s refugee crisis truly hope to support those who have been forced to flee their homes, they must also commit to providing the necessary resources to prioritize the prevention of violent conflict.
FCNL joined 45 other organizations in a letter to President Obama on the importance of investing in the prevention of violent conflict in advance of the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants. The historic summit – which began on Monday, September 19 – seeks to address the unprecedented refugee crisis, but it is also an opportunity to rethink how the international community can work to prevent future crises.
The numbers are startling. Right now, there are at least 65 million people displaced globally, which marks the highest number in history. Every minute, 24 people are forced to flee their homes. The primary factor driving this displacement is violent conflict. This cause and effect relationship requires that when considering possible solutions and strategies to grapple with such a complicated and devastating problem it is imperative to not only respond to the dire humanitarian consequences, but to address the factors driving the displacement as well.
Unfortunately, very little funding has been allocated by the United States Government or members of the international community toward preventing violent conflict. As noted in the letter, “less than 1 out of every 20 dollars in [Official Development Assistance] is being spent on peacebuilding and conflict mitigation in the most fragile states.”
If President Obama and world leaders concerned about today’s refugee crisis truly hope to support those who have been forced to flee their homes, they must also commit to providing the necessary resources to prioritize the prevention of violent conflict. As is outlined in the letter, this would require doubling the funding currently being allocated to peacebuilding efforts. In the United States, “this could be implemented by supporting key accounts that fund conflict mitigation and peacebuilding – including USAID’s Complex Crisis Fund and Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, the State Department’s Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Office, and contributions to the UN Peacebuilding Fund.”
Increased funding would have a monumental and proactive impact on the international refugee response strategy by better addressing violence as the primary cause of displacement even as critical immediate response efforts are also prioritized. Read the full text of the letter here.