This bill — the Global Fragility Act of 2019 — would require the President, Secretary of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator and the Secretary of Defense to collaborate on a 10-year initiative to reduce fragility in at least five priority countries.
This initiative, which would be called the “Global Fragility Strategy,” would focus on addressing the long-term causes of fragility and violence and would:
- Consider the causes of fragility and violence at both the local and national levels, the external actors that reinforce and exploit such conditions and outline successful prevention strategies and their key features.
- Include specific objectives and multisector approaches to reduce fragility and the causes of violence, including those that strengthen state-society relations, curb extremist ideology and make society less vulnerable to the spread of extremism and violence.
- Encourage and empower local and national actors to address their citizens’ concerns, including in vulnerable communities and build community resilience against violence and extremism.
- Address the long-term underlying causes of fragility and violence through participatory, locally-led programs, empowering marginalized groups such as youth and women, inclusive dialogue and conflict resolution processes, justice reform, good governance across all sectors, community policing and civilian security.
- Describe approaches that ensure national leadership (where appropriate) and participatory engagement by civil society and local partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of programs.
- Assign roles for relevant federal agencies to avoid duplication of efforts while ensuring that 1) the State Dept. is responsible for leading the strategy, establishing U.S. foreign policy, advancing diplomatic and political efforts and guiding security assistance and related civilian security efforts; 2) USAID is responsible for overseeing prevention programs and is the lead implementing agency for development, humanitarian and related non-security program policy; 3) activities undertaken or supported by the DOD in relation to the Global Fragility Strategy are established through joint formulation and with the concurrence of the Secretary of State; and 4) other federal agencies support the Dept. of State’s and USAID’s activities as appropriate, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator.
- Describe programs that agencies will undertake to achieve the stated objectives, including descriptions of existing programs and funding by fiscal year and account;
- Identify mechanisms to improve coordination between the U.S., foreign governments, and international organizations (such as the World Bank, UN, regional organizations and private sector organizations).
- Address efforts to expand public-private partnerships and leverage private sector resources.
- Describe the criteria, metrics and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of programs and objectives in the strategy.
- Describe how the strategy will ensure that programs are country-led and context-specific.
- Identify mechanisms or activities to reduce the risk that the programs, policies or resources that are deployed will facilitate corruption, empower or abet repressive local actors or be exploited by extremists to gain support for their cause.
Within 270 days of this bill’s enactment, the president would submit a report to the appropriate Congressional committees detailing the Global Fragility Strategy. The report would include information about objectives, goals, and specifics; list the relevant federal agencies and compact-based partnerships that’d be involved in its implementation and execution; identify the authorities, staffing and other requirements needed to effectively implement the Strategy; describe the ways U.S. leadership would be used to enhance overall international global fragility prevention efforts, including through increasing the engagement of the member states of the Group of Eight and Group of Twenty; identify which USAID, State Dept., and DOD officials would be responsible for overseeing and leading the strategy; and list the priority countries selected for the initial pilot program.
At least five priority countries would be selected by the president, in coordination with the Secretary of State, USAID Administrator and Secretary of Defense. They’d be selected on the basis of: 1) the United States’ national security interest, 2) clearly defined indicators of the levels of violence in fragility in the country, and 3) an assessment of national and sub-national government entities’ commitment and capacities to work with federal departments and agencies on the Global Fragility Strategy.
Within one year of this bill’s enactment, the president, in coordination with the Secretary of State, USAID Administrator, Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant federal departments and agencies, would submit ten-year plans to the appropriate congressional committees aligning and integrating the Global Fragility Strategy to all diplomatic, development, security assistance and cooperation and other relevant U.S. government activities.
Each country plan would include specific multi-year interagency plans; up-to-date baseline analyses, including analyses of power dynamics, impacts of violence and the conditions that contribute to violence and fragility; prioritized descriptions of the goals and objectives for stabilizing conflict areas; and assessment, monitoring and evaluation frameworks for diplomatic, development and security activities, among other elements.
The president, in coordination with the Secretary of State, USAID Administrator, Secretary of Defense, heads of other relevant federal agencies, relevant U.S. ambassadors, USAID mission directors, geographic combatant commanders and other relevant individuals, would ensure that 1) the Global Fragility Strategy is implemented, updated and coordinated on a regular and iterative basis and 2) that the strategy is used to guide U.S. government policy and incorporated into relevant strategies and plans across the U.S. government and that all federal agencies’ activities are consistent with the strategy.
Within two years of this bill’s implementation, and every two years thereafter, the appropriate congressional committees would receive an unclassified report (which may include a classified annex) on progress made and lessons learned with respect to the implementation of the Global Fragility Strategy. The report would include: 1) descriptions of steps taken to incorporate the strategy into any relevant existing country and regional plans or strategies; 2) accountings of all funding received and obligated to each country and regional plan over the past two years and for the next two years; 3) descriptions of progress made towards specific targets, metrics and indicators in each priority country; and 4) descriptions of any changes made to programs based on the results of assessment, monitoring and evaluation for each priority country.
No more than two years after this bill’s enactment, the Comptroller General of the United States would consult with the appropriate congressional committees regarding opportunities for independent review of the activities implemented under the Global Fragility Strategy.
This bill would establish and fund three funds:
- Prevention and Stabilization Fund: to support stabilization of conflict-affected areas and mitigate fragility, including through the Global Fragility Strategy (replacing the Relief and Recovery Fund);
- Complex Crises Fund: to support programs and activities to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen events overseas; and
- Partnership Development Fund: to be established by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator and the heads of other relevant federal agencies, with key bilateral and multilateral donors (i.e., the World Bank) and developing countries were fragility threatens to exacerbate violent extremism and undermine development, in order to 1) assist in addressing the sources of fragility and 2) strengthen national and local good governance and conflict resolution capacity over the long term.
The U.S. representative to the Partnership Development Fund would be responsible for providing the appropriate congressional committees with a report on the Fund no later than a year after this bill’s enactment. The report would detail: 1) the Fund’s goals, 2) the Fund’s programs, projects, and activities, including approaches to scaling programs; 3) private and governmental contributions to the Fund; 4) the criteria for determining what the Fund should support; and 5) the country-level processes established to support compact-based agreements and promote international coordination. The GAO would also be responsible for submitting a report to Congress evaluating the Fund’s effectiveness no more than three years after this bill’s enactment.