“The world spends just $1 on conflict prevention for every $1,885 it spends on military budgets. Here in the U.S., less than 2% of income tax goes to civilian foreign affairs agencies; meanwhile, 39% goes to the military. And though taxpayers provide almost $1 billion per year for military academies, they pay only about $40 million for the United States Institute of Peace — the only U.S. agency dedicated to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.“*
The heartbreaking attacks in Brussels this week are evidence once again that we must take a stand for powerful peacebuilding measures when dealing with global conflict. In the long run peacebuilding offers far more hope when dealing with conflict and violence than perpetual war — which has shown to be largely counter-productive.
This is our moment to take a stand. Right now, Committees in the House and Senate are starting to draft the 2017 Budget. At this early stage of the process, few things are decided and we have a much greater opportunity to influence. But that means that we have to act right now to make sure important Peacebuilding programs will be fully funded in 2017. In the 2016 Budget, several peacebuilding programs were cut, so we need your voice now.
Investing early to prevent conflicts from escalating into violent crises is, on average, 60 times more cost effective than intervening after violence erupts.*
Your voice matters. When Representatives and Senators get messages about programs like the ones below, they take note. Defense contractors and others spend $tens of millions every year on lobbyists. YOU are the peace constituency to champion peacebuilding as a priority.
Below is an overview of the three key areas we are supporting. Much more needs to be done, both within these agencies and in other areas, but these are all positive steps in the right direction for our nation.
✔ Complex Crises Fund:
For 2017, we’re asking for $100 million for the Complex Crises Fund. The Complex Crises Fund (CCF) provides unprogrammed money for the State Department and USAID to ‘prevent and respond to unforeseen crises. In just a few short years, it has become one of the most highly demanded tools in the US foreign policy toolkit, allowing the State Department and USAID to make rapid investments in prevention, stabilization, and crisis response. Ex., in 2014, funds from the CCF have been used for conflict mitigation between refugees and hosts in Jordan, and community peacebuilding in the Central African Republic. Urge Congress to increase the CCF to $100 million.
✔ Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations:
We’re also asking that Congress fully fund the President’s Budget Request for $39 million for the State Department Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) engages in conflict intervention and prevention by using locally driven analysis to break cycles of violence. In 2013, they were key in preventing major outbreaks of election violence in Kenya, and have numerous other ongoing engagements. Sign the petition and ask Congress to fully fund the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.
✔ United States Institute of Peace:
We would also like to see Congress fully fund the President’s Budget Request for the United States Institute of Peace of $37.9 million. The US Institute of Peace does training and research on Peacebuilding that no one else in the US Government does. USIP routinely engages with communities on the ground in conflicts around the world, trying to build stronger societies and find more peaceful paths forward. Tell Congress to fully fund the President’s Budget Request for USIP at $37.9 million.
These, and numerous other important peacebuilding efforts, risk losing funding if you don’t act.
President, The Peace Alliance
.* Quote from Friends Committee on National Legislation report, Prevention is 60:1 Cost Effective, 2011.