Photo By: Stephine Ogutu is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
Choose to Invest F.Y. 2023
Peace and Security
Peacebuilding programs are designed to prevent and respond to violent conflict.
Conflicts and violence drive the displacement of more than 84 million people globally and absorb over 11% of global GDP. COVID-19 continues to take a toll on violent conflict—the pandemic has exacerbated humanitarian conflict and inflamed drivers of popular anger like joblessness, economic disruption, and inequality. Peacebuilding programs are specifically designed to prevent and respond to violent conflict and mitigate these impacts.
USAID, the State Department, the United Nations, and institutions such as the U.S. Institute of Peace play a pivotal role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention programming. Broadly, these organizations seek to strengthen the capacity of international and local actors to address and manage conflict through a variety of approaches, including peacekeeping operations; instability monitoring and analysis; targeted prevention and stabilization assistance; and reconciliation programs.
Supporting peacebuilding directly serves U.S. economic and national security interests. The Government Accountability Office found that a U.N. peacebuilding operation is one-eighth the cost of deploying a comparable U.S. force. Saving American taxpayers money while investing in a safer world not only reduces the likelihood of conflict overseas, it keeps Americans safer at home. Peacekeepers limit the spread of global instability, reducing the threat of international conflicts from reaching our borders. By supporting the stability of fragile states, the U.S. plays a crucial role in preventing foreign internal strife from becoming a larger regional crisis.
The United States also has a geopolitical interest in supporting peacebuilding operations. China is currently the second-largest funder of U.N. peacekeeping, behind the U.S. However, as the U.S. accrues larger arrears, China has offered to pay more, strengthening its position within the United Nations. This changes the narrative on human rights and allows China a larger forum to exert influence in the face of intense human rights abuses throughout the country.
To promote a more peaceful world, counter the rise of authoritarianism, and uphold President Biden’s commitment to be “a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security,” America should adequately invest in peacebuilding. The United States takes a holistic approach to crises, working under strategies mandated by the Global Fragility Act to ensure that resources across the government are effectively leveraged to prevent conflict. As the duration of complex civil wars has lengthened, and many conflicts significantly impact U.S. interests, the United States must invest in cost-effective prevention and peacebuilding efforts.