Early this year, the Embassy of Canada and Mercy Corps celebrated the passage of the Global Fragility Act. Coupled with the U.S. budget enacted in late 2019, the passage of the Global Fragility Act showcases strong bipartisan support in Congress on humanitarian and development issues. Mercy Corps CEO Beth DeHamel was on hand to present awards to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member Michael McCaul, and Senator Chris Coons for their commitment and dedication to passing this legislation. Senator Lindsey Graham was not able to join, but was also instrumental in pushing the Global Fragility Act through Congress.
What is the Global Fragility Act anyway? This important legislation connects U.S. domestic security with peace and prosperity abroad. The bill asks U.S. agencies, including USAID, the State Department, and the Department of Defense to develop a strategy to tackle growing levels of violence and instability around the world. It authorizes these agencies to spend $230 million per year for the next 5 years to prevent conflict and support peace in fragile contexts.
The Global Fragility Act aligns with a number of Government of Canada development and foreign policy priorities. Recognizing the same linkages between security at home and peace abroad, Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program is dedicated to supporting conflict prevention, dialogue, mediation, stabilization, peacebuilding, and post-conflict recovery. Our Feminist International Assistance Policy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognizes growth and poverty alleviation are crucial, but insufficient, to achieve sustainable peace, both serve as anchors to these broader policy goals. Peace – particularly sustainable peace – and security must be pursued deliberately.
The Government of Canada’s approach to building lasting peace and stability is rooted not just in a collaborative approach with our allies, but in empowering civil society organizations. As acting Ambassador Hillman noted, “Our shared partnership with Mercy Corps is a perfect example of these efforts. Canada relies on the expertise and capabilities of Mercy Corps in some of the most difficult contexts in the world to achieve our shared objectives. In Haiti, both Canada and the U.S. partner with Mercy Corps, in our case to strengthen relationships between the community and police, and increasing youth participation in community peacebuilding processes.”
Through the Global Fragility Act, Canada, the U.S., and organizations like Mercy Corps will have even more opportunity to work together to tackle and prevent violence in the years ahead.