Working Group Calls for Prevention Funding in FY2012

May 27, 2011

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To: Members of the House and Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee

Dear Representative/Senator,

As participants of the Prevention and Protection Working Group, a coalition of organizations dedicated to preventing deadly conflict and protecting civilians by strengthening U.S. civilian capacities, we urge Congressional appropriators to invest in critical conflict prevention and civilian protection accounts. These modest funds help stop costly crises from undermining state and regional security and erupting into violent conflicts, thereby saving millions of dollars likely to be spent on conflict response and humanitarian assistance. Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of State Clinton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen, and bipartisan leaders in Congress have all noted the dual needs to rectify the imbalance in the U.S. foreign policy toolbox and to strengthen civilian capacity in order to meet today’s complex security and humanitarian challenges.

The President’s FY 2012 international affairs budget includes a number of modest but important investments that will save lives and preserve scarce resources by improving the U.S. government’s ability to prevent and mitigate conflict. The initiatives outlined below represent relatively small investments that could save billions of dollars and thousands of lives by preventing crises from turning violent, stemming mass atrocities, and avoiding costly interventions.

Specifically, we urge Congressional Appropriators to fully fund the President’s FY2012 request for the following accounts:

Complex Crises Fund: The CCF is a crucial source of unprogrammed, innovative, and flexible funding for civilian agencies, without which the State Department and USAID would be less capable of acting quickly when conflicts escalate or undertaking rapid stabilization, prevention, and crisis response activities. We urge you to fully fund the President’s FY2012 request of $75 million for the CCF and to ensure that it is available for both the State Department and USAID.

Conflict Stabilization Operations: The CSO (formerly Civilian 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 trained federal employees supporting critical diplomatic and development efforts in some of the most troubled spots in the world, including Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia. S/CRS continues to support vital conflict prevention, reconstruction, and stabilization operations in Pakistan, Haiti, and Yemen, among others. CSO is a low-cost, efficient use of scarce resources that can prevent costly conflict. We urge you to fully fund the President’s FY2012 request of $92.2 million for the CSO.

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 the last 15 years in applying short-term assistance to leverage opportunities for advancing peace and mitigating violence. We urge you to fully fund the President’s FY2012 request of $56 million for OTI.

UN Peacekeeping Operations: Professional, well-equipped international peacekeepers reduce the burden on the U.S. by acting as a key stabilizing force at a fraction of the cost of U.S. intervention – a mere 12 cents to the dollar according to the Government Accountability Office. UN Peacekeepers play a vital role in protecting civilians from harm, preventing displacement, restoring and maintaining rule of law and enabling post-conflict political and economic reconstruction. Therefore, we urge you to fully fund the President’s FY2012 request of $1.920 billion for Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) and $292 million for Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) programs.

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 United States from costly military and reconstruction expenditures.

Sincerely,

3D Security Initiative

Alliance for Peacebuilding

Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation

Better World Campaign

Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)

Church of the Brethren Global Partnerships

Citizens for Global Solutions

Colomban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Disciples Justice Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

The Fund for Peace

Human Rights First

Investors Against Genocide

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, University of San Diego

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur

Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office

National Council of Churches of Christ, USA

Refugees International

Resolve

Save Darfur Coalition/Genocide Intervention Network

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

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