The Conflict Prevention and Fragility Working Group develops timely, policy-relevant analysis at the intersection of the global response to COVID-19 and conflict prevention, identifying practical policy solutions for embedding a fragility lens into the global pandemic response. Building on the findings of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States and the Global Fragility Act (GFA), this group of experts includes thought-leaders with a wide-range of experience and expertise—from advocates to academics to frontline peacebuilders.
Over the past decade, as conflicts around the world became entrenched and humanitarian crises proliferated, a consensus emerged around the need for new approaches that reduce the underlying drivers of conflict and violence and increase resiliency to shocks.
This consensus culminated in the U.S. with the Global Fragility Act, an ambitious bill signed into law in late 2019 that aims to overhaul the way the U.S. engages in fragile states—where the social contract between citizens and the state is severed and societies are fragmented and prone to violence. If successfully implemented, this new framework could ultimately transform U.S. policy and assistance in fragile countries, demonstrating an alternative approach to the kinds of multi-billion-dollar state-building efforts that have been underway for years in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the context of COVID-19, this agenda has gained added urgency, as the fallout from the pandemic will stress countries’ social fabrics in ways that deepen fragility and exacerbate protracted crises, with potentially devastating impacts on the health and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
The Conflict Prevention and Fragility Working Group seeks to inform the policy debate regarding the global response to COVID-19 in fragile states, using the GFA as a guide. The group meets periodically to generate timely, actionable recommendations on specific thematic issues related to GFA implementation through policy briefs, analysis, reports, briefings, and other public and private events that help inform the U.S. Global Fragility Strategy and 10-year pilot country plans.
Research topics include the global strategic environment for implementing the GFA; partnering with national and local actors in conflict-affected regions; promoting local ownership of programs; good governance and resilience; and defining and measuring progress against policy frameworks for mitigating conflict and building resilience.
The recently passed Global Fragility Act provides a framework to respond to state fragility—and COVID-19.
With potentially devastating effects in fragile states, what can be done to fortify vulnerable populations?
Diplomacy, Development and Defense Officials Pledge To Advance U.S. Fragility Strategy
During a recent event convened by USIP, Deputy Secretary Biegun addressed the relevance of state fragility to US National Security, and the need for a new U.S. global fragility strategy.
Addressing a two-day workshop at USIP on GFA implementation, Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa recently spoke about USAID’s renewed focus on fragility as an obstacle to development and an integral part of the agency’s mission, particularly in the context of COVID-19.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephanie Hammond spoke at a recent USIP event, at which leading experts shared their perspectives on GFA implementation.