Mercy Corps Calls on Next Secretary of State to Focus on Global Violence Reduction

December 13, 2016

Statement from Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy

WASHINGTON, DC – As a global organization dedicated to helping people survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities, Mercy Corps welcomes the opportunity to work with Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, to tackle some of the most complex challenges affecting the national security of the United States and stability worldwide.

Against the backdrop of numerous violent conflicts and more than 65 million people displaced from their homes and communities – the highest level since World War II – Mercy Corps believes the next Secretary of State can have a transformational impact, but only if he focuses on addressing the drivers of these conflicts. We urge the Secretary-designee to make violence reduction a strategic priority of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, and to highlight this priority during his upcoming Senate confirmation hearings.

Currently, Mercy Corps is responding to the humanitarian fallout of conflict in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and numerous others. We sincerely hope Mr. Tillerson will reach out to partners like Mercy Corps to help address the complex drivers of displacement and global insecurity. A Tillerson State Department can help streamline foreign assistance to mitigate more aggressively violence and fragility around the world. It can also better leverage U.S. global influence to put political solutions front and center.

Foreign aid comprises less than one percent of the federal budget and remains a crucial and cost-effective tool of U.S. foreign policy. Funding for humanitarian assistance is an even smaller fraction of the budget, and provides lifesaving aid to tens of millions of people around the world. We encourage the future Secretary of State to continue U.S. leadership and robust humanitarian responses to help the world’s most vulnerable people.

Mercy Corps stands ready to partner with Mr. Tillerson and his team to ensure U.S. foreign assistance continues to promote American leadership, standing and security at home and abroad.