WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced legislation to improve the coordination of U.S. government efforts to reduce violence and instability in fragile countries.   

Fragile states can often become threats to U.S. national security because their governments are seen as ineffective or illegitimate by their citizens.  The risk of terrorism, violent conflict, criminal activity, and corruption are high in fragile states.  Violent conflict also drives global displacement, with 68,500,000 people forcibly displaced around the world. S.3368, theGlobal Fragility and Violence Reduction Act, responds to these challenges by requiring the Secretary of State and Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, to collaborate on a 10-year initiative to reduce violence and fragility in at least six priority countries.

“The United States is a leader in responding to global humanitarian needs, yet lacks a long-term strategy for addressing the root causes of violence and instability before fragile states turn into failed states,” said Senator Coons. “The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act will require USAID and the Departments of State and Defense to collaborate on making strategic, long-term investments to promote sustainable development in countries that are critical to our own security. As a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, I am pleased to be working with this bipartisan group of senators to advance legislation that maximizes the effectiveness of our foreign assistance.”  

“As the U.S. responds to the many humanitarian crises around the world, we must address the factors driving instability and violence. It is both moral and in our national security interest to promote stable and prosperous countries that can one day be reliable allies and partners. I am proud to join this bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation to better coordinate efforts between government agencies aimed at reducing instability in fragile states and ensuring our tax dollars are being spent efficiently,” said Senator Rubio

“Strategic intervention to diminish violence and instability around the world is both the moral and the practical thing to do,”said Senator Merkley. “For decades, the U.S. has been a world leader in alleviating human suffering. It’s time for us to continue and build upon that tradition with this bipartisan bill.”

“It is said that an ‘ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, and this is exactly why I am proud to support this important, bipartisan legislation. America’s interests and humanitarian principles require that we proactively and strategically seek to address fragile states and violence before they deteriorate further,” said Senator Young. 

A one-pager on the bill is available here.

The bill text is available here.