Economic and environmental crises such as poverty and famine are often blamed for driving conflict, but the relationship is complicated. The U.S. Institute of Peace works to better understand the connections between violence, economics and the environment. The Institute then uses these insights to identify effective peacebuilding interventions that prevent or end violence during an economic or environmental crisis.
Emerging from the economic havoc of the Great Depression and the violence of World War II, the United States found itself at a hinge of history moment. American leaders like President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson believed that the United States should not only change the way it engaged with the world but assert itself to shape and lead it into a new era of international cooperation. Today, amid a global pandemic, the world faces a similar moment, with massive technological, demographic, environmental, and geopolitical shifts redefining the global order, said former Secretary of State George Shultz. “They [American leaders after World War II] said what we could say now … we are part of this world, whether we like it or not. And they set out to try to make something different.”
The quadrennial international donor conference for Afghanistan, held virtually late last month from Geneva, was largely shaped by the pitfalls and roadblocks forecast months ago when the event was publicly announced. Delays in the peace process, worsening violence, and unveiling of plans for further U.S. troop reductions left the meeting’s potential unmet. Yet amid the unsatisfying results, some hopeful rays broke through. In particular, the size and duration of aid pledges provided at least something to build on.
As China’s leading foreign policy project, its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) should be easy to understand. Yet since its inception in 2013, the BRI has remained remarkably opaque. The government publishes no criteria for approving BRI projects or comprehensive lists of authorized ones. Consequently, a range of Chinese investors—including some linked to organized crime—claim an association with the signature program of China’s leader, Xi Jinping. In host countries, this free-riding identification can threaten governance and stability, while further damaging the international community’s ability to check the spread of related criminal activity.
The U.S. Institute of Peace supports programs and research that contribute to the mission of promoting enduring peace in South Asia. The institute provides analysis, capacity development and resources to individuals and institutions working to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict. In Pakistan, USIP awards funding in three categories, ranging from projects that test new, experimental ideas to supporting local and international organizations on policy relevant research.