Peaceful, prosperous societies need people and institutions to be subject to law that is fairly applied. The U.S. Institute of Peace helps states and members of society work together to strengthen the rule of law, often through justice and security sector reforms. USIP develops innovative models to foster and shepherd sustainable and locally supported reforms, trains rule-of-law practitioners, conducts research and holds forums to share knowledge. The institute also supports programs such as Justice and Security Dialogues, which seek to build trust between civil society and officials from the justice and security sectors.
In 2016, a historic peace accord ended the 50-year armed conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But implementing the accord and ensuring that its provisions equitably reach all corners of the country remains difficult.
With a staggering array of immediate crises facing the world — from the COVID pandemic to a global increase in extremist violence — it sometimes feels difficult, perhaps even impossible, to look beyond the current moment and envision what the world will look in the coming decades. However, looming demographic, economic, environmental and technological shifts are already starting to affect the global geopolitical environment — not only worsening our current crises, but inciting new ones should we fail to put in place long-term strategies to address them.
As glaring inequalities in the global recovery from COVID-19 become clearer, the U.N. has warned of growing risks of political tensions and conflict in many countries. This poses a daunting challenge to U.S. foreign policy and presents a test for the new Global Fragility Strategy (GFS), which aims to reduce state fragility and break cycles of violence in critical regions. What the GFS lacks, however, is a clear “theory of success” that explains why and how proposed actions will lead to desired outcomes in fragile states. A new capacity-based approach is needed to identify fragile states with high potential for effective engagement, particularly security sector reform (SSR).
Initiated in 2012, the Missing Peace Initiative is a partnership bringing together policymakers, practitioners and junior and senior scholars who are working on the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings. Together, these individuals identify gaps in knowledge and reporting and explore how to increase the effectiveness of current responses to such violence. Since 2013, the Missing Peace Scholars Network has ensured that this research is communicated cogently to policymakers by producing annual special reports intended to produce meaningful change regarding acts of conflict-related sexual violence.
The U.S. Institute of Peace, in partnership with USAID's Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization, is convening the Curbing Elite Manipulation of Security Sectors Working Group to study how manipulation of the security sector for personal, political or financial gain contributes to violence. Through expert study, research and a public report, the working group seeks to distill the phenomenon sufficiently to identify leverage points where policy and action might effectively address the problem.
USIP believes that peace is impossible without security. Our work offers a peacebuilding approach to security sector governance and reform. Providing citizens with human security is one of the most fundamental obligations of any state. But too often, those intended to provide security, such as military and police forces, instead trigger violence or exacerbate ongoing conflicts.