18 National Organizations Highlight Prevention in the FY2011 BudgetPDF Version
March 2, 2011
To Members of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee:
We write to express deep concern over spending cuts in H.R.1, the House Continuing Appropriations Act. As participants of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, a coalition of organizations dedicated to strengthening U.S. civilian capacities to prevent deadly conflict and protect civilians who are threatened by it, we urge Senate Appropriators to invest in critical conflict prevention accounts. These funds help avert costly humanitarian crises and military interventions, thereby saving millions of dollars.
Specifically, we urge Senate Appropriators to maintain the following accounts at their previously approved levels for the rest of FY 2011:
• Complex Crises Fund: The FY 2011 House C.R. calls for the elimination of all funding for the Complex Crises Fund for the violence in critical places like Kenya and Kyrgyzstan. The CCF is a crucial source of unprogrammed, flexible funding for civilian agencies, without which the State Department and USAID are unable to act quickly when conflicts escalate or to undertake rapid stabilization, prevention, and crisis response activities. We urge the Senate to continue allocating $50 million for the CCF for the remainder of FY 2011, which is half the Administration’s request.
• Conflict Stabilization Operations: The CSO (formerly Conflict Stabilization Initiative) funds the Civilian Response Corps (CRC) and the State Department’s Office for the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). The CRC – a new corps of civilian experts trained and deployed to help prevent and mitigate conflict – now includes over 1,200 active and standby members who are supporting critical diplomatic and development efforts in some of the most troubled spots in the world, including Afghanistan, Sudan, and Kyrgyzstan. CSO is a low-cost use of scarce resources that can prevent conflict via early civilian conflict prevention activities. We urge the Senate to continue allocating $50 million for the CSO for the rest of FY 2011.
• Office of Transition Initiatives: USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives supports programs that help fragile or conflict-prone countries transition to peace and stability. OTI implements these programs and has developed a strong track record over 15 years in applying short-term assistance to leverage opportunities for advancing peace and mitigating violence. We urge the Senate to continue allocating $55 million for OTI for the rest of FY 2011.
• UN Peacekeeping Operations: UN peacekeeping missions help end brutal conflicts, support stability, the transition to democratization, and bring relief for hundreds of millions of people. UN peace operations are also cost effective - the GAO did a study showing that UN peacekeeping is eight times less expensive than funding a U.S. force. We urge the Senate to continue allocating $2.125 billion for the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account and $305 million to the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account for the rest of FY 2011.
• United States Institute of Peace: H.R. 1 included an amendment to eliminate all funding of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). USIP is the only congressionally mandated and funded national institution dedicated specifically to building better tools for peacebuilding and prevention of deadly conflict. Funding for USIP must be determined on its merits, of which it has many, and not subject to convenient and short-sighted spending cuts. We urge the Senate to continue allocating $47 million for USIP for the rest of FY 2011.
Addressing the deficit, reducing the debt, and strengthening our economy will require long-term and sustainable solutions. However, draconian cuts to critical conflict prevention accounts will result in costly emergencies in the coming years. Protecting these accounts is critical in the C.R currently under consideration, as well as throughout the FY 2012 appropriations process.
Current events in Libya remind us that mass violence continues to threaten innocent civilians in addition to regional and state stability. Civilian agencies and international partners must be well-equipped to respond flexibly and decisively to mitigate escalating crises before atrocities occur. Wise investment in the aforementioned accounts will undoubtedly save lives and prevent the U.S. from costly military and reconstruction expenditures.
3D Security Alliance for Peacebuilding Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation Better World Campaign Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) Church of the Brethren Citizens for Global Solutions Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur Friends Committee on National Legislation Leadership Conference of Women Religious Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office Refugees International Resolve Save Darfur Coalition/Genocide Intervention Network Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team Union for Reformed Judaism