Good morning. It is good to be in beautiful Magaliesburg with all of you in support of the Angolan people. I would like to thank Wilton Park for organizing this event in association with the British Embassy in Luanda and MAG. I always look forward to the frank and productive discussions that Wilton Park generates.
For the last two years I have chaired the Mine Action Support Group, an informal body comprised of 30 donor states and several observers that aim to coordinate financial and programmatic resources for humanitarian mine action. For me, these two years have reinforced the importance of effective collaboration. It’s only through collective efforts that we can help states become mine impact-free, thereby expanding their economic horizons and improve the livelihoods of its population.
So it’s with this conviction that I hope to facilitate meaningful conversation on the cornerstone of assistance: Funding models and donors.
Today, I will explain how the United States’ funding model for conventional weapons destruction evolves based on the international security context, foreign policy priorities, and the programmatic tools at our disposal to achieve those priorities.
For nonprofit organizations, a funding model has been defined as a “methodical and institutional approach to building a reliable revenue base that will support an organization’s core programs and services.” Switching that around, a donor’s funding model could be described as a “methodical and institutional approach to building and justifying a program budget that will best accomplish the organization’s strategic objectives.”
As we all know, donors and implementing partners alike operate within a fiscally constrained environment. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, or PM/WRA, is no exception. We implement the United States’ Conventional Weapons Destruction, or CWD, program to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives. The President recommends our budget level to Congress based on how our specific tools can advance these foreign policy priorities.
Our CWD program includes not only demining, but also small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) programs that reduce the threats associated with stockpiles of weapons, ammunition, and man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS. The CWD program is designed to enhance civilian security, help communities recover from conflict, and ultimately bolster regional stability. Last year alone, the United States provided nearly $222 million in global CWD assistance to more than three-dozen, showing that the President and Congress view our programs as an indispensable tool of foreign policy.
To maintain such robust funding levels into the future, we must clearly demonstrate how our assistance benefits the national interest. For us, that means linking CWD programs to international security. This brings me to my first point: the CWD program evolves based on the context of international security and post-conflict recovery.
Recent conflicts have underscored how explosive remnants of war (ERW) can threaten international peace and security by killing and maiming civilians, blocking humanitarian assistance, and preventing internally displaced people (IDPs) from returning home, fomenting instability. In the Middle East, ISIS left behind hundreds of thousands of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) scattered among critical infrastructure, farmland, schools, hospitals, and homes as they fled from Coalition forces. In Yemen, Houthi forces have laid an estimated one million landmines and IEDs, hindering efforts to distribute food to hundreds of thousands of hungry Yemenis.
In Africa, we have seen an alarming increase in protracted conflicts, such as terrorist activity and intercommunal violence in the Sahel. The emptying of Libya’s large conventional weapons stockpiles in 2011 fueled the insurrection in Mali in 2012, and the surplus of weapons in the black market continues to equip terrorist groups to launch attacks on civilians and security forces throughout central and western Africa.
In addition, terrorists frequently seize weapons and ammunition during attacks on poorly secured storage facilities and use the material to sustain their operations or as precursor materials for IEDs.
As the governments struggle to face this growing threat, their resources are often insufficient to secure their stockpiles against pilferage. The continued flow of illicit weapons and ammunition to these organizations undermine international efforts to degrade them and stabilize communities.
The changing international security context affects U.S. foreign policy that, in turn, creates new priorities for CWD programs.
Since April 2016, the United States and our partners have been working to clear IEDs from critical infrastructure sites in areas liberated from ISIS control, enabling the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in stabilization assistance and humanitarian aid where it is urgently needed.
This is key to re-establishing basic security, restoring essential services, and beginning to build local economies. Since protecting civilians is a necessary prerequisite for a broader humanitarian response, CWD programs have become a central component of stabilization efforts that lay the groundwork for an enduring peace.
Another U.S. national security priority is degrading violent extremist organizations in the Sahel and Maghreb regions so that our allies are stable and prosperous, and so that the terrorists can never grow to the point of launching attacks on the U.S. homeland. CWD efforts advance this objective by preventing conventional weapons and ammunition from falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and other malign actors.
Our assistance improves the physical infrastructure of munitions storage facilities, supports partner countries to destroy their excess, unstable, and at-risk munitions (including MANPADS), and builds stockpile management capacity. These efforts prevent pilferage, improve accountability to deter corrupt transfers, and mitigate the risk of accidental depot explosions that threaten civilians living nearby.
Relatedly, our efforts in Latin America have increasingly emphasized securing government stockpiles and destroying excess munitions to curb illicit weapons trafficking. Criminal violence, narcotics, and arms trafficking continue to endanger many communities with approximately one-third of all global homicides occurring in the region, exacerbating internal migration pressures. CWD efforts are vital to protecting our southern border by improving the stability and prosperity of our neighbors.
While I have highlighted some of our evolving priorities, other priorities have endured for decades. For example, Congress continues to prioritize clearing ERW remaining from prior U.S. military operations, particularly in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Those three countries combined have received $473 million in CWD assistance since 1993.
Additionally, while our programs have focused on emergency stabilization needs in areas liberated from ISIS control, Congress has steadily increased our topline budget over the last few years so that we can maintain our long-standing commitments in countries with legacy contamination and enduring humanitarian needs.
Finally, we adapt the specific activities, or tools, that we use in our CWD programs to fit the context and best achieve foreign policy priorities. The changes in the CWD toolkit also affect how we allocate funding, since it affects the specific activities we support in each region and country.
For example, the increased linkage between CWD programs and U.S. national security has resulted in a shift towards weapons and ammunition management programs, a trend that we expect to continue. Additionally, in the last few years we have increased our emphasis on upgrading the physical security of storage facilities to address the specific threat of terrorists or criminals looting them.
Further, in conflict-affected countries like Afghanistan and Somalia, we fund weapons and ammunition disposal teams that work with communities to identify and destroy abandoned caches of arms, ammunition, and IED precursor materials.
The trajectory of CWD programs in Angola illustrates how these three factors – context, priorities, and the tools we employ – affect our funding model.
Since 1995, we have continuously supported mine action in Angola even as the CWD program adapted to meet foreign policy priorities. The United States has provided $134 million for CWD efforts in Angola, the majority of which has supported demining. This includes about $20.8 million from other Department of State, USAID, and Department of Defense programs. In the early years, it was necessary to focus on clearing roads and critical infrastructure to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people.
Eventually, as we made progress in with immediate stabilization needs and Angola’s government increased its capacity to manage a national demining program, we were able to transition our support to focus on high-impact communities identified during a nationwide survey.
Meanwhile, in 2006, we expanded our programs to include weapons and ammunition destruction. The national police had started to collect thousands of weapons left over from the war, and our support helped ensure the weapons were destroyed so that they could never fall into the wrong hands.
Further, the military retained large stockpiles of surplus ammunition that were stored in inadequate conditions and at risk of accidental explosions. Since 2006, our assistance has resulted in the destruction of 101,000 excess weapons and 631 tons of at-risk ammunition. Finally, starting in 2015, we expanded our assistance yet again to include physical security upgrades to storage facilities and stockpile management training.
The gradual expansion of our CWD programs in Angola reflect the focus in our worldwide strategy to stem the illicit proliferation of weapons and ammunition.
Against the backdrop of conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, we also understand that clearing explosive remnants of war and fostering development in Angola takes on a whole new meaning. Angola’s prosperity bolsters its role as a net security provider in the region, which, in turn, could protect its natural treasures, such as the Okavango region, from experiencing the ravages of war again.
Finally, CWD programs also support the foreign policy objective of building mutually beneficial economic ties with Angola and supporting conservation efforts. In 2018, President Trump signed the Defending Economic Livelihoods and Threatened Animals Act, also known as the DELTA Act, which promotes wildlife conservation and sustainable economic growth in the Okavango River Basin.
This goal of enabling economic growth and deepening our ties with Angola led to Deputy Secretary Sullivan announcing $2 million for a demining project in Bié Province that contributes to conservation efforts and supports the development of Angola’s ecotourism industry. For that same reason, we announced an additional $3 million to expand operations in Bié and Moxico Provinces during Prince Harry’s visit this past September.
How does this relate to our funding model?
- First, the program’s expansion to holistic weapons and ammunition management means that we split our funding for Angola between those efforts and demining, better advancing Angola’s overall security and prosperity.
- Second, our strengthened bilateral relationship with Angola, including a new link between demining and conservation, provides a solid basis for the CWD program that we can use to justify continued funding.
- Third, Congress understands these linkages and has specifically indicated a desire to continue supporting demining in Angola, which will add weight to our budget recommendations.
From a global perspective, the United States has provided over $3.4 billion in CWD assistance to more than 100 countries since 1993. Over those 26 years, how we prioritized those funds has changed based on foreign policy priorities, the context of international security and post-conflict recovery, and our application of programmatic tools to achieve those objectives.
While these programs are humanitarian in nature, they are inherently designed to advance U.S. interests and play a key role in keeping American citizens and those of our allies safe. I invite you to consider how your governments’ foreign policy priorities affects the activities you support in Angola and, ultimately, your funding model.
I look forward to hearing from Mr. Hocker and continuing the conversation.
Thank you for your attention.