SEATTLE, Washington — The Global Fragility Act is a bill passed in the House on May 21, 2019. It is legislation designed to tackle global violence by addressing the issue at its core. With the poverty rate of violence-ridden countries expected to rise from 36 percent in 2015 to 46 percent by 2030, the connection between poverty and violence is inextricably linked. If passed in the Senate, the Global Fragility Act will not only work to combat worldwide fragility but it will also help to improve global poverty. Here are five facts to know about the Global Fragility Act.
Five Facts About the Global Fragility Act
- It will launch a global initiative. If passed in the Senate, the Global Fragility Act will launch a worldwide initiative known as “The Global Fragility Initiative.” The decade long program will set out to reduce global violence and fragility by implementing programs at the local level. The initiative would combine USAID, multilateral donors, the Board for Atrocities Prevention, governmental and private entities, the Secretary of Defense, civil societies and international development organizations to create, enact and oversee the initiative. If passed, it will not only implement developmental programs in violence-affected countries but it will also work to prevent issues from unfolding in the future.
- It will target certain areas. The Global Fragility Act will fight worldwide violence and fragility by devising different developmental plans that pertain to the selected country’s challenges. These selections will be based on indicators such as where a country ranks on global fragility lists such as the World Bank Harmonized List of Fragile Situations, the Fund for Peace Fragile States Index and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development States of Fragility report. A nation’s level of violence will also be considered when selecting the countries that require the most support. These considerations would be based on indicators of a violent and fragile region from the threat of extremist organizations, acts of violence against children and gender-based violence among factors. Following the selection of these countries, country-specific plans will be devised to eradicate the selected nation’s violence and fragility over the next decade.
- It has a large amount of Congressional support. With 40 congressional co-sponsors, the Global Fragility Act has drawn an immense amount of political support. Since being introduced into the House of Representatives on April 8, 2019 by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the Act has garnered the support of 20 co-sponsors in the House. These include Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Michael Mccaul (R-TX), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MOR). On March 7, 2019 the same bill was introduced into the Senate by Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-DE). While the bill still awaits to be passed in the Senate, the likelihood remains high with 20 Senators, such as Sen. Linsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), standing in support of the legislation.
- It is fiscally prudent. With violence containment costing the world $14.76 trillion per year, an investment in global violence reduction will save a lot of money. Around 95 percent of refugees flee their home countries as a result of fragility and violence. By improving the well-being of these suffering nations, the need to flee will eventually be eliminated. Also, with a more stable economy, these formerly impoverished countries will be able to purchase U.S. goods. By investing in improvement, the U.S. will eventually strike economic gain.
- It will improve other global issues. Currently, global violence and fragility take up 80 percent of foreign humanitarian aid. The less extreme global fragility and violence becomes, the more humanitarian money can be spent other issues. With a less violent world, 12 percent of the U.S. GDP could be put towards other worldwide problems such as climate change, girls education and poverty. Those issues that were formerly neglected would be granted the support they need. Reducing global fragility is the pathway to improving other global problems as its successes will affect the way other global issues are handled and the amount of care they go on to receive.
While the Global Fragility Act still awaits action in the Senate, the predictions have been positive. More than 60 non-profit organizations, such as CARE and the Alliance for Peacebuilding, endorse the legislation, and 40 congressional co-sponsors standing strongly behind it. The mass of its support exemplifies the reality of its power. If passed, the Global Fragility Act will not only improve the well-being of these countries as a whole but it will also better the lives of individual people. As poverty remains a root cause of global violence and fragility, the Global Fragility Act is not merely a stand against violence but its a stand against poverty.
– Candace Fernandez