SEATTLE, Washington — The importance of the Global Fragility Act is evident in that it fights global poverty by attacking its root causes instead of its symptoms. As a result, it shows a logical and revolutionary approach to reducing international poverty rates. Poverty is caused by an array of issues from violence, inequality, history of subjugation and weak states. However, historically, legislation has been passed to combat the effects of poverty only when violence breaks out or the situation becomes so disastrous that it cannot be ignored. This Act offers an alternative to this approach that could fight the causes of these abysmal living conditions before they become a reality.
The Global Fragility Act was sponsored by Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware who introduced the bill on March 7, 2019. The bill proposes to fight global extremism by combating poverty in its early stages. Through working with USAID and the Department of Defense, the act would construct a 10-year plan to accomplish such goals as promoting local businesses, fighting corruption and aiding marginalized groups. It also includes a Complex Crises Fund, which would provide funding to USAID in order to “respond to emerging or unforeseen events overseas.”
Poverty causes so many of the political and humanitarian issues that every American and world citizen want to fight. For example, weak states, violence and lack of opportunity have caused poverty levels to rise in Latin America, creating a migration crisis throughout the region. In addition, violence in Syria has created one of the world’s most devastating refugee crises in history.
The importance of the Global Fragility Act is represented through its new approach. It has the potential to fight the causes of such issues before they evolve into these disastrous situations. The Act is necessary to fight the high poverty rates around the world. The Global Fragility Act proposes to find the causes of these poverty rates and designate aid to them instead of only treating the symptoms.
The Cost of Violence Containment
According to the World Health Organization, 1.4 million people die each year from violence. In addition, the UNHCR reported that on average 44,400 people were forced to flee their homes due to violence each day in 2017. Fighting the causes of this displacement is not only more effective but cheaper in the long run. The Institute for Economics and Peace reported that the cost to contain the violence in the world is actually 75 times more expensive than what is spent on foreign aid. It posits that a savings of $1.4 trillion globally would be possible if a reduction of just 15 percent in violence containment could be achieved.
In addition, the United States’ federal spending on foreign aid is extremely low at less than 1 percent of the federal budget. Yet, choosing to spend money now on issues that may turn into violence in the future could save the United States and the international community a sizeable amount of money while, at the same time, help hundreds of thousands of people live safer, more productive lives.
The Benefits of the Act
Limiting poverty levels and violence is not only beneficial for the world’s poor but for American citizens themselves. The developing world represents one of the largest untapped markets. The Global Fragility Act could reduce poverty and violence in these developing nations, opening up a huge consumer market for American companies. In addition, reducing poverty can help reduce terrorism and crime, creating a safer international community.
The Global Fragility Act is part of a logical and long-term solution in the fight against international poverty. Legislation such as this can help reduce poverty before it creates such drastic suffering for so many people living in the developing world. Addressing the causes of poverty and violence will prevent displacement and suffering while saving the United States and the international community huge amounts of money. The Act represents a step forward in the fight against international poverty.
To show support for the importance of the Global Fragility Act, email your representatives and tell them how important this issue is to you as their constituent.
– Alina Patrick