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Thank you, Jim, for that introduction.  I am pleased to join you and other leaders from across the United States Government to launch the United States Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability.  The Global Fragility Act of 2019 called for development of this important strategy to promote peaceful, self-reliant nations that can become future partners in economic development and stability.  I want to especially recognize that the launch of the U.S. strategy today would not have been possible without the strong and bipartisan leadership of Senator Christopher Coons, Senator Lindsey Graham, Representative Eliot Engel, and Representative Michael McCaul, among other members of Congress.

The United States’ strategy is the culmination of months of engagement by the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Departments of Defense, and Treasury with many partners and stakeholders, especially from civil society.  Our strategy reflects input from a broad range of experts and draws on lessons learned from decades of experience across multiple Administrations.  I want to thank the Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations and the Office of Foreign Assistance for their tireless work in shepherding this initiative.

Instability, conflict, and violence provide fertile ground for violent extremists and criminal organizations that threaten the security of people everywhere.  Such vulnerabilities undermine the economic prosperity which is crucial for any nation’s long-term stability and prosperity.  Many countries around the world are experiencing protracted violent conflict and deliberate attacks against civilians, particularly women and girls.   Humanitarian needs, driven in part by these conflicts, have reached historic levels, outpacing available resources by billions of dollars annually as displaced populations increase and these dire circumstances are prolonged.  And of course, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on health, security, and economies have only exacerbated this situation.

In the face of this dynamic, the Department of State welcomes the strong bipartisan consensus that we must rethink how the U.S. government helps prevent violent conflict or stabilizes conflict-affected areas.  In September, Secretary Pompeo outlined our strategy for Congress, focusing on key reforms that will address gaps in previous efforts.  Data-driven analysis, adaptive and locally based approaches, and accountability through partnerships will be at the heart of the strategy.  Rigorous learning, monitoring, and evaluation are also central to the effort.

As we roll out this strategy, we also must acknowledge that the difficult work of execution now begins.  None of this will be easy, and it will require discipline and coordination to fully execute the goals of this strategy.  The United States will prioritize several countries and regions to implement this strategy over a ten-year time horizon, starting with no less than five countries and regions.  Execution will require focus to ensure our assistance reinforces inclusive, participatory, and legitimate governance.  It will require our commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights.  It will require meaningful participation in political processes of women, youth, and members of faith-based and marginalized groups.  It will require active interagency coordination, particularly at the country team level.  However, it will also require the resolve to not provide our assistance when these commitments are not met.

The stakes are high, but I am optimistic that we can take the necessary steps to work collaboratively across agencies, political persuasions, and branches of government to execute this strategy.  Together, we can support nations who are committed to preventing conflict and build a world that is more peaceful and prosperous.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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