WAND supports robust funding for peacebuilding, atrocity prevention and human rights promotion
As a member of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, we encourage the Senate and House Appropriations committees to support robust funding for peacebuilding, atrocity prevention and human rights related accounts in appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2023.
From the letter: “COVID-19 has only emphasized what the past two decades have shown: it’s far more cost-effective and sustainable to prevent and prepare for emergencies than to respond to them after they occur. Crisis management and humanitarian relief are necessary, but they are not sustainable solutions to today’s global challenges. As U.N. Secretary General Guterres succinctly stated, ‘Instead of responding to crises, we need to invest far more in prevention. Prevention works, saves lives and is cost-effective.’”
Dear Members of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations: As members of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, we urge you to support robust funding for peacebuilding, atrocity prevention and human rights related accounts in the Fiscal Year 2022 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPs) appropriations bill. We greatly appreciate your support for such funding in the FY 2021 appropriations and urge you to maintain this critical support in FY 2022.
As a coalition of humanitarian, peacebuilding, human rights, and atrocity prevention experts and organizations, we are deeply concerned about the early warning signs of new violence resulting from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has spared no nation, leaving devastated economies and fractured societies in its wake, exacerbating the drivers of violence and fragility around the world. We know that society-wide crises, such as famines, climate change, pandemics, and political strife, too often become a trigger or justification for mass violence and atrocities. Already data modeling shows that as result of the pandemic, 13 more countries will likely experience conflict over the next two years, nearly doubling the pre-pandemic prediction.
Peacebuilding provides a critical tool in responding to and recovering from this pandemic by preventing immediate outbreaks of violence and healing fractured societies over the long term. Peacebuilding also supports public health and humanitarian responses by ensuring that they are conflict sensitive and do no harm. We therefore urge your support to robust funding in the FY 2022 SFOPs appropriations bill for accounts that prevent and reduce violent conflict.
We request no less than $70 billion in base funding for the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill for FY22.
In particular, we urge support to:
• The Atrocities Prevention Fund, which enables the Department of State to prevent mass atrocities, and genocide, and to implement recommendations of the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force. It is the State Department’s only funding dedicated solely to the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide. Given the increased risk of mass atrocities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge not less than $25 million for the Atrocities Prevention Fund. In tandem, we urge not less than $500 thousand be made available for both the State Department and USAID to conduct Atrocities Prevention Training as mandated in the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (P.L. 115-441).
• The Complex Crises Fund (CCF), which enables the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent and respond to early warning signs and escalating conflicts. It is the only account of its kind, filling immediate, short-term gaps during emergent crises. The CCF is in high demand during the pandemic and has directly supported initiatives to prevent mass atrocities and violent conflict. It has been leveraged to deploy critical peacebuilding programs around the world, including in Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique, and South Sudan. We urge that you allocate not less than $60 million to USAID for the CCF.
• The Prevention and Stabilization Fund, which supports the stabilization of conflict-affected areas and mitigation of fragility by the Department of State and USAID, including through the Global Fragility Strategy. We urge not less than $200 million for the Prevention and Stabilization Fund, and that such funds include support to the Global Fragility Strategy. We urge the separate appropriation of $25 million to the Multi-Donor Global Fragility Fund to catalyze global action among private sector, government and multilateral partners and to support locally-led approaches to strengthening resilience, preventing violence, and building sustainable peace.
Further, we urge no less than $14.5 million be specified in the language of the bill for the Conflict Stabilization Operations account, as well as the inclusion of language requiring that the Secretary of State provide a report to Congress outlining the mission, objectives and major lines of effort of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations over the next four years and criteria for measuring progress toward such objectives.
We request bill language waiving the statutory 25% cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping operations. Such language will allow the U.S. to pay its peacekeeping assessments at the full rate negotiated and agreed to by the U.S., as well as pay arrears accrued due to the enforcement of this arbitrary cap.
We urge your support for and funding of unarmed civilian protection, specifically that you allocate not less than $25 million to the State Department for unarmed civilian protection. Unarmed civilian protection is a proven strategy for the non-violent direct protection of civilians, the reduction of localized violence, and the development of local peace infrastructures in which unarmed, trained civilians live and work with local civil society in conflict zones.
Lastly, we urge no less than $10 billion in funding for the global COVID-19 response for FY22. While current domestic needs remain substantial, the U.S. can and must do more to contain the pandemic and prevent its worsening consequences. With COVID-19, no one is safe until everyone is safe. The international pandemic relief funds included in the American Rescue Plan Act and other supplemental packages are only a portion of what is required to responsibly address the crisis and do not support critical conflict prevention or peacebuilding efforts. Such assistance should be combined with authorization for the issuance of 2 trillion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) at the International Monetary Fund. These SDRs would cost the United States nothing but would enable $1.1 trillion of direct economic support to low and middle-income countries, allowing them to purchase or produce PPE and vaccines, and revive their economies to save lives.
Thank you for your continued support and leadership for the vital work of the State Department and USAID that serves to promote American interests, prevent conflict, build peace and save lives.