On December 19, 2019, the United States Congress adopted the historic bipartisan Global Fragility Act (GFA), establishing the first-ever U.S. government strategy to tackle alarming levels of global violence around the world. The violence is causing unimaginable suffering and instability with almost 70 million people around the world trying to flee the violence.
The Act requires the administration to develop a strategy to prevent violence in fragile states. By creating a process to identify the causes of conflict and reallocating resources to respond to them, the GFA will help prevent violence more effectively and reduce its enormous cost on families and communities.
The GFA directs the State Department to start the Interagency Global Fragility Initiative to stabilize conflict-affected areas and prevent violence globally. It creates funds to support these efforts.
The State Department must prepare a plan for the initiative, including its organizational structure and goals. The State Department must lead in development, humanitarian, and non-security policies. Other departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense, will provide support as required.
The State Department must select priority countries and regions that are especially at risk, and report to Congress 10-year plans for each. The plan must include information, including descriptions of goals, plans for achieving such goals, and benchmarks for measuring progress.
The State Department must report to Congress every two years concerning the initiative’s progress. The Government Accountability Office must consult Congress every two years about opportunities to assess the initiative and recommend improvements.
The Act establishes the Stabilization and Prevention Fund (SPF) to support efforts to stabilize conflict-affected areas, including areas at risk from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or other terrorist organizations. The Act authorizes $200 million annually over five years for the SPF.
The Act creates the Complex Crises Fund (CCF) to support programs to address emerging, unforeseen, or complex challenges abroad. The Act authorizes $30 million annually over five years for a CCF.
The current issue of the IELR will have a more comprehensive discussion of the GFA.
The American Society of International Law is holding a panel on the Act on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 from 6:00 -8:00 at the ASIL Headquarters, Tillar House (2223 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.). Registration if free and open to the public. For more information and registration, go to www.asil.org/events.