ONE welcomes new bipartisan bills to help reduce fragility in unstable countries

WASHINGTON — The ONE Campaign today welcomed the introduction of companion measures in the House and Senate, called the Global Fragility Act of 2019 that recognizes the importance of reducing poverty in fragile or conflict-affected countries. The bills would direct the State Department, USAID, and the Pentagon to work together to develop a coherent strategy to address the root causes of fragility, including poverty. A fragile state is defined by an inability to cope with political, security, economic or environmental stresses. Natural disasters or economic downturns in these places often lead to an increased risk of conflict or violence, or even the failure of state institutions. The Senate bill was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Todd Young (R-IN) and the House bill was introduced by Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Adam Smith (D-WA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Bill Keating (D-MA), and Francis Rooney (R-FL).

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign:

“There is often a clear link between extreme poverty and fragility. Experts predict that by 2030, nearly 80 percent of people living in extreme poverty will be in fragile states and regions. Reducing instability in fragile states can save innocent lives and is an efficient and cost-effective way of advancing our nation’s foreign policy and national security interests. That’s why it’s so important for the United States government to have the right tools and strategies for reducing poverty in difficult environments, and reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

“The sponsors of these bills should be applauded for acknowledging the need for a long-term approach to preventing crises, one that brings together the expertise and resources of State, USAID and the Pentagon. ONE welcomes the progress that these bills represent and we will work to ensure these proposals have the necessary resources behind them to be effective.”

About the Global Fragility Act

These bills both call for the development of strategies that aim to coordinate U.S. efforts to stabilize conflict-affected areas and address global fragility. The bills call for the selection of priority countries in a minimum of three geographic regions, and for the development of 10 year strategies in these countries that include local leadership, civil society participation, and have strong monitoring and evaluation systems. The Senate bill also calls for the development of a multilateral fund to be created to facilitate coordination between bilateral and multilateral partners working in conflict-affected and fragile states.  

For more information, or to speak with an expert about these bills, contact Sean Simons at [email protected]e.org. The ONE Campaign is a non-partisan policy and advocacy organization of more than 9 million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.