FCNL to Congress: Invest in Conflict Prevention in FY13 Budget
TO: Members of the House and Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee
Research now demonstrates that every one dollar invested in preventing conflicts from turning deadly would cost 60 dollars in crisis response once violence erupts. We are encouraged by the consensus now emerging among policymakers that the U.S. must strengthen civilian tools for addressing global problems and preventing deadly conflict.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and bipartisan leaders in Congress have all discussed the imbalance in the U.S. foreign policy toolbox, which overflows with military hammers but lacks effective civilian tools for resolving problems and averting crises. The President’s FY 2013 international affairs budget includes a number of small but important investments to save lives and scarce resources by improving the U.S. government’s ability to help prevent and mitigate crises. These small accounts help avert crises before they undermine state and regional security and erupt into violent conflicts. The initiatives outlined below represent relatively small investments within the international affairs budget, but they could save billions of dollars and thousands of lives by preventing conflicts from turning violent and avoiding costly interventions.
Flexible Funding for Prevention and Response
The Complex Crises Fund is a crucial source of flexible funding for civilian agencies that enable the State Department and USAID to undertake rapid stabilization, prevention, and crisis response activities. The CCF has been used in places such as Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Yemen. We urge you to fully fund the Administration's FY2013 request of $50 million for the Complex Crises Fund.
Conflict Stabilization Operations
The CSO bureau was created out of the 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and funds the Civilian Response Corps (CRC) and the former Office for the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). Nearly thirty CRC members worked in South Sudan in advance of the 2011 referendum, strengthening the State Department's efforts to track and monitor the security status. This bureau focuses on preventing deadly conflict by assessing and planning an effective response to countries struggling with or at risk from protracted conflict. We urge you to fully fund the Administration's FY2013 request of $56.5 million for the CSO.
Office of Transition Initiatives
OTI supports programs that help fragile or conflict-prone countries transition to peace and stability. It has developed a strong track record over the last 15 years in applying short-term assistance to leverage opportunities for advancing peace and mitigating violence. OTI currently operates in eleven countries, including Kyrgyzstan, Cote d'Ivoire, and Haiti. We urge you to fully fund the Administration's FY2013 request of $58 million for OTI.
Contributions to International Organizations
The CIO account provides money to pay U.S. assessed dues at 45 international organizations including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the United Nations. These organizations help advance a wide range of shared goals, including promoting economic growth, monitoring weapons proliferation, creating global trade norms, and addressing global health pandemics. We urge you to fully fund the Administrationfs FY2013 request of $1.57 billion for Contributions to International Organizations.
Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities
UN peace operations are cost-efficient and often prove vital in consolidating the peace in countries emerging from conflict. Funding these operations through the CIPA account saves lives in Darfur, Chad, Liberia, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other conflict zones. By supporting UN peacekeeping, we lessen the burden on our own forces and reduce our own expenditures. In 2006, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study concluded that UN peacekeeping is eight times less expensive than funding a U.S. force. We urge you to fully fund the Administration's FY2013 request of $2.164 billion for Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities.
Global Security Contingency Fund
he FY12 budget requested $50 million for a new account, the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), to enhance foreign militaries as well as to provide justice sector rule of law and stabilization assistance. The fund was not authorized, however funding for these purposes was allocated for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund for FY12. The fund is to be pooled jointly between the Department of State and Department of Defense, and the Secretary of State must consult with the Secretary of Defense before using these funds. This fund is very similar to the 1207 transfer funds which were allowed to expire in 2010, in part because your committee and other congressional appropriators believed civilian agencies should be given direct authority over their own funding streams. FCNL is concerned that the administrationfs proposed GSCF recreates the 1207 authority and perpetuates the militarization of aid. While DoD may act as the implementer for some security assistance programs, the State Department and civilian leaders should decide how U.S. taxpayer dollars are spent on foreign assistance. We urge you to include report language that would focus the GSCF specifically on civilian rule of law and comprehensive justice reform, and appropriate this account solely to the Department of State and USAID, rather than a joint account with the Department of Defense. We urge appropriators to exercise vigilant oversight over this account as it is implemented.
Conventional Weapons Destruction
Demining is essential to post-conflict recovery in dozens of countries, where landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose a mortal threat to civilians, disrupt refugee return, and impede agricultural production and economic development for years after armed conflict ends. This account responds to the risk to civilians posed by landmines, and excess small arms and light weapons, by providing funding to victims' assistance and removing weapons from loosely secured arms depots. We urge you to fully fund the Administration's request of $126 million for the Conventional Weapons Destruction account.
Palestinian Development Assistance
This account provides crucial economic funding and budgetary support for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza. U.S. development assistance to the Palestinian Authority is an important investment in the long-term stability of the Middle East. This funding has repeatedly come under threat from Congress, as some lawmakers have sought to punish the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians as a whole for seeking U.N. statehood recognition and for pursuing reconciliation efforts between the political parties of Hamas and Fatah. FCNL urges Congress to reject punitive efforts against the Palestinian Authority for seeking a non-violent, multilateral approach to self-determination at the U.N. and to encourage comprehensive negotiations in good faith between Israel and a unified Palestinian government, encouraging rather than impeding Palestinian reconciliation efforts. We urge you to support $370 million in Economic Support Funds for the Palestinian Authority, and reject onerous, punitive restrictions on aid.
Migration and Refugee Assistance
This account provides protection and assistance needs of refugees, conflict victims, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants worldwide. Funds primarily support the programs of international organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The President's FY 13 budget request for the MRA account is $1.6254 billion. FCNL, along with a host of humanitarian and refugee advocacy groups, supports increasing this funding for the MRA account to $1.875 billion. A funding level of $1.875 billion for FY 13 would match the FY12 total funding level enacted. We urge you to support $1.875 billion for the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account.
As you prepare the FY2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, and in the face of challenging budgetary choices, we ask that you consider these requests and make saving both lives and dollars a priority.
Senior Legislative Secretary for Foreign Policy
Friends Committee on National Legislation