U.S. Government Identifies Priority Countries for Conflict Prevention Investment Through the Global Fragility Act

Statement from Kate Phillips-Barrasso, Mercy Corps Vice President for Global Policy & Advocacy

“Today, the White House announced the four priority countries and one region that will receive special focus and dedicated resources through the historic, bipartisan Global Fragility Act (GFA): Haiti, Libya, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, and Littoral West Africa. The GFA aims to reduce violence globally by elevating peacebuilding and conflict prevention as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy and development assistance. Implementing this innovative strategy is more urgent than ever. Almost 90 million people globally have been driven from their homes due to violence, persecution and war, and two-thirds of the 155 million people facing acute food insecurity are concentrated in 10 conflict-affected countries. COVID-19 has only made matters worse. Our research last year, A Clash of Contagions, finds that the pandemic is worsening conflict risks by diminishing trust in government, exacerbating economic hardship, and disrupting social cohesion.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment will help communities address and prevent violence over the next decade. Mercy Corps welcomes this pledge and looks forward to partnering to implement this law. As the U.S. government develops the tailored priority country and regional plans required by the GFA, we urge the government to consult local communities and private sector stakeholders alongside national and subnational governments in each of the priority countries. This will be essential for ensuring the success of this initiative. 

At Mercy Corps, our teams around the world work daily to mitigate the risk of violence in the communities we serve. From addressing tensions around natural resource scarcity through community dialogues to combating misinformation online, we consistently witness the transformative power of peacebuilding. Through the Global Fragility Act, the U.S. government can forge new strategies as well as new partnerships to advance more resilient and peaceful communities globally.” 

In December 2019, Congress enacted the Global Fragility Act (GFA) to address global violence, conflict, and extremism over the next decade. Today, the White House announced the five priority countries and regions that will receive special focus and dedicated resources through the Global Fragility Act. They include Haiti, Libya, littoral West Africa, Mozambique, and Papua New Guinea.  Littoral West Africa includes the countries of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, and Togo.  The White House also released an updated U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability that recognizes how climate change can ignite violence and outlines new commitments to address it.

Mercy Corps, in partnership with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, chairs the Global Fragility Act Coalition, representing 65 humanitarian, faith-based, and peacebuilding organizations that advocated for enactment of the law. Operating in some of the world’s most complex and fragile environments, including 17 of the 20 countries ranked lowest in the 2018 Global Peace Index. 

Mercy Corps Background Materials

News Alert: U.S. Government Must Implement Global Fragility Act to Mitigate Rise in Global Violence, 16 Sept 2020

How the Biden administration can get the Global Fragility Strategy right, 5 January 2021

Implementing the GFA: Recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration, January 2021