Posted by Peace Direct on
Image credit: Greg Funnell
Updated on Dec. 20: The inclusion of local civil society in peacebuilding initiatives is vital to building sustainable peace. The U.S. Congress passed a new policy initiative called the Global Fragility Act that will take local voices into consideration. The act demonstrates significant progress toward international recognition of the critical role played by local people. The initiative brings the United States closer to a more focused, high-level policy response to address violence and instability in the world’s toughest places — one that helps put locally led peacebuilding at the forefront.
On February 26, a high-level Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States released a new report calling for a major overhaul of the U.S. government’s approach to addressing extremist violence and fragile states. The Task Force is urging the development of more coherent, coordinated efforts that include both national and local stakeholders to design and lead preventive approaches to address the root causes of extremism.
Peace Direct’s U.S. Executive Director Bridget Moix served on the senior advisory group for the task force and notes, “It has become clear to leaders on both sides of the aisle that endless war is not the way to address today’s global problems and ensure a safer world. The Task Force is rightly urging a new focus for U.S. foreign policy on prevention and addressing root causes of violence. It also lifts up the vital role of local leadership, including local civil society, in designing solutions and building sustainable peace.”
“It has become clear to leaders on both sides of the aisle that endless war is not the way to address today’s global problems and ensure a safer world. The Task Force is rightly urging a new focus for U.S. foreign policy on prevention and addressing root causes of violence. It also lifts up the vital role of local leadership, including local civil society, in designing solutions and building sustainable peace.” – Bridget Moix, U.S. Executive Director
Among its specific policy recommendations, the Task Force is urging the creation of a new Global Fund for Prevention that would support locally-led efforts by facilitating inclusive solutions led by committed national or local leaders. Including civil society and local leaders is essential to effectively and sustainably address the underlying conditions for extremism which require adaptive programs to empower locals due to their inherent understanding of the root causes extremism in their community.
The Global Fragility Act is a bipartisan bill requiring the U.S. government to create a coordinated strategy for reducing violence and strengthening resilience in conflict-affected countries. The bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, passed both chambers as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, and was signed into law (updated Dec. 20). In addition to requiring coordinated strategies to measurably reduce violence in a number of countries, the GFA addresses the fact that effective and sustained efforts to build peace require the participation and leadership of local actors.
The act underlines the importance of coordinating an inclusive strategy to reduce violence and build peace that strengthens local leadership. It guides U.S. government efforts to bring down current levels of violence and improve its effectiveness in preventing future violent conflicts.
The act requires the U.S. to identify countries to pursue new investments, funding mechanisms and programming, developed with the aim of reducing violence in line with the act. It also encourages new partnerships within and between civil society, academia and the private sector, encouraging collaborative research to develop methods and strategies for reducing violence in the U.S. and globally. It also improves the administration’s ability to measure and evaluate efforts to reduce violence and prevent violent conflict, leading to an overall more accurate assessment of the levels of global violence and the root causes of violence.
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