Violence and crime are the main drivers of mass immigration from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador into the United States. These countries form a region known as the Northern Triangle, which ranks in the top 10 worldwide for homicide, corruption, drug trafficking and gang violence. Non-state actors perpetuate insecurity, forcibly recruit individuals into their ranks and use sexual violence as a tool of intimidation and control.

Central America became a key area of U.S. foreign policy in the late 1970s, when a number of conflicts and revolutions broke out across the region. U.S. development assistance spiked during this period and during the early 2000s as conflict began to increase again. A significant amount of these funds were allocated to the war on drugs, rather than for security, peace and development. As conflict continues to escalate in Central America, how can the U.S. mitigate the violence, support and strengthen rule of law, and curb immigration?

The U.S. Institute of Peace and the partners of the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) hosted a discussion on the issues facing Central America, and how the peacebuilding community can develop programming to prevent and mitigate violence, support community resilience and help stabilize the region.

Speakers

Steve Olive, opening remarks
Acting Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America, USAID, Opening Remarks

Lisa Haugaard
Executive Director, Latin America Working Group

Steve Hege
Senior Expert, Colombia, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Adam Isacson
Director for Defense Oversight, WOLA

Enrique Roig
Director, Citizen Security Practice Area Creative Associates International

Since 1999, the CPRF has provided a monthly platform in Washington that highlights innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. CPRF’s goals are to (1) provide information from a wide variety of perspectives; (2) explore possible solutions to complex conflicts; and (3) provide a secure venue for stakeholders from various disciplines to engage in cross-sector and multi-track problem-solving. The CPRF is hosted at USIP and SAIS and organized by the Conflict Management Program in conjunction with Search for Common Ground. The CPRF is co-sponsored by a consortium of organizations that specialize in conflict resolution and/or public policy formulation. 

Related Publications

Coronavirus Puts Systems for International Cooperation to the Test

Coronavirus Puts Systems for International Cooperation to the Test

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Dr. William J. Long

The spread of infectious diseases can foster opportunities for international cooperation, even between rivals. During the Cold War, for example, American and Soviet scientists collaborated to develop and improve a polio vaccine. The unprecedented challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic put in stark relief the need for enhanced international cooperation. What role can the United States play in building such cooperation? In his 2011 book “Pandemics and Peace,” published in 2011 by USIP Press, Dr. William Long contended that infectious disease control presents an unparalleled opportunity for American leadership in global public health. Long looks back at the recommendations he made for U.S. global health policy and how they are relevant today and at how other outbreaks in recent years have led to increased cooperation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Can Algeria’s Protest Movement Bring Fundamental Change?

Can Algeria’s Protest Movement Bring Fundamental Change?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

By: Thomas M. Hill

Last year, Algerians massed in peaceful protests against the authoritarian, 20-year presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, prompting the military to force his resignation. The demonstrations have brought millions to the streets, demanding greater transparency in government and an end to pervasive corruption within the shadowy mix of military, business, and political elites who dominate the country. While the popular movement has forced once-unthinkable resignations and criminal investigations of powerful figures, its push for more a fundamental overhaul is stalled. The movement, called the Hirak, can continue its pattern of twice-weekly demonstrations, hoping for more government concessions. Or it can adapt its strategy to move beyond the current stalemate. Either approach could risk greater conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

From Foreign Interference to Failed Diplomacy, Libya’s Conflict Drags On

From Foreign Interference to Failed Diplomacy, Libya’s Conflict Drags On

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

By: Thomas M. Hill; Nate Wilson

Back in November 2019, the foreign minister of Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Mohammed Syala, told USIP that the key to ending Libya’s civil war was the cessation of foreign involvement. Yet, despite international efforts, foreign interference—from Turkey to the UAE, from Russia to European states—has only deepened. What’s next for Libya’s civil war and how can the U.N. and European Union (EU) play a constructive role in bringing the conflict to a close? USIP’s Nate Wilson and Thomas Hill discuss the EU’s effort to enforce an arms embargo, the impact of the conflict on Libyan society, Turkey’s involvement in Libya and more.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

After Nine Years, Syria’s Conflict Has Only Become More Complicated

After Nine Years, Syria’s Conflict Has Only Become More Complicated

Thursday, March 12, 2020

By: Mona Yacoubian

In March 2011, as the Arab world was roiled by demonstrations, protests broke out in Syria to demand political reform after four decades of Assad rule. Nine years later, the Assad regime is on the offensive against the last rebel stronghold of Idlib, with Russia, Turkey and Iran all heavily invested in the conflict. The humanitarian consequences for Syrians cannot be overstated and a political solution to conflict seems as distant as ever. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian discusses the dreadful toll on the Syrian population and what the battle for Idlib means for the trajectory of the conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Human Rights

View All Publications