WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following statement on the House passage of a bill he authored --H.R.2116, the Global Fragility Act:
“This legislation gets at the heart of what we want to see from our diplomatic and development efforts around the world: helping countries already torn apart by conflict to recover and preventing the start of violence in other places where factors are ripe for its outbreak.
“When the United States works to prevent violence, helps to build stronger communities around the world, and seeks to make the most vulnerable regions more stable and prosperous, we’re improving the lives of huge numbers of people. We’re also advancing our own interests by eliminating the root causes that allow extremism to fester and drive threats to our own security.
“I’m pleased that the House today voted to pass this important bill. There’s more work to be done and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this legislation and move swiftly to get it to the President’s desk.”
Violence and violent conflict have become the leading causes of displacement worldwide, resulting in an unprecedented 68.5 million forcibly displaced people, while preventable violence kills at least 1.4 million people annually. Containing violence costs the global economy $14.7 trillion a year (12.4% of world GDP).
US National Security Strategies over the past 15 years affirm that America has a national security interest in better preventing and mitigating violence, violent conflict, and fragility. Lessons learned over the past 20 years show that doing so will require more clearly defined goals, strategies, and interagency coordination.
The Global Fragility Act directs the State Department, Defense Department, and USAID to designate at least 6 priority countries or regions and implement 10-year plans for addressing violence and fragility in those areas. The bill also requires these departments and agencies to apply lessons learned and implement robust standards for measuring effectiveness and adapting programs based on results.
The legislation is endorsed by: Alliance for Peacebuilding, American Friends Service Committee, Bread for the World, CARE, Carl Wilkens Fellows, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Center on Conscience & War, Charity & Security Network, Chemonics, Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, Conciliation Resources, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd US Provinces, Cure Violence, Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, Foreign Policy 4 America, Franciscan Action Network, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Future Without Violence, Global Communities, Global Water 2020, Humanity United Action, i-ACT, In Defense of Christians, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, InterAction, International Alert, International Civil Society Action Network, International Crisis Group (ICG), International Rescue Committee, Jewish World Watch, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, Mercy Corps, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Never Again Coalition, Nuru International, Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Peace Direct, PRBB Foundation, Saferworld, Search for Common Ground, STAND, Stop Genocide Now, United Church of Christ, Women for Afghan Women, World Relief, and World Vision.
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