Mercy Corps applauds introduction of the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act

August 24, 2018

Bipartisan bill introduced in Senate to tackle rise of global violence

WASHINGTON – The global organization Mercy Corps applauds yesterday’s introduction of the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018 (S.3368) by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Todd Young (R-IN) in the United States Senate. This bipartisan, landmark legislation directs the creation of a U.S. government-wide strategy to prevent and reduce violent conflict. The bill (H.R. 5273) was previously introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Paul Cook (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Bill Keating (D-MA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) on March 15.

The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act requires the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies, to establish a new process to identify the drivers of conflict and align U.S. foreign assistance resources to prevent and mitigate them.

“More than 68 million people around the world are on the run, primarily because of violence. The need for conflict prevention and peace building has never been more urgent,” says Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps. “This bill is an important step in the right direction and will spark innovation within the U.S. government to lead efforts to prevent outbreaks of violence and conflict.”

Mercy Corps’ peace-building programs and research demonstrate that the types of investments advocated in the bill enhance peace and stability. For example, a Mercy Corps program in conflict-affected areas of Somalia that provided young people access to education and civic engagement opportunities reduced propensity to support political violence by nearly 65 percent. Research evaluating Mercy Corps’ youth employability program in Afghanistan found that offering vocational training alongside cash assistance reduced young people’s willingness to support armed groups. Currently, Mercy Corps is implementing 36 peace-building and conflict-management programs in 15 countries around the world.

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