The Department of State’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources (F) is pleased to announce the release of the final report of the Strategic Prevention Project: Assessing the Role of Foreign Assistance in Preventing Violent Conflict. The Project was launched in 2018 to identify how the United States and international partners can better target foreign assistance to priority fragile states to reduce the risk and severity of violent conflict.
The Trump Administration has called for more targeted efforts to strengthen fragile states and promote more stable, self-reliant nations that can become robust economic and security partners for the United States. Fragile states are more susceptible to destabilizing violence and armed conflict, as well as political subversion and interference by external malign actors. These risks are not only felt by those fragile states, but also the United States and our partners as we operate in a world defined by increasing competition and resurgent transnational threats. Overall international foreign assistance to fragile states has grown significantly over recent years, but only a small fraction of those resources directly focuses on preventing violent conflict and instability. There is a growing consensus among experts on the need for a more strategic approach to prevent violence in fragile states and better coordinate assistance resources from the United States and generous partner nations.
The Strategic Prevention Project’s final report highlights that assistance can help prevent violent conflict when it is sensitive to conflict risks, closely coordinated with diplomacy, and aligned with host-nation and local civil society reformers. However, the report concludes that most assistance to fragile states over the past decade was designed to address other development and foreign policy priorities and was not tailored in this way. The report identifies a series of actions for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to better align assistance to fragile states with principles for preventing violent conflict before it begins, thereby protecting U.S. interests and taxpayer dollars over the long run.
The Strategic Prevention Project is one example of how F is working to promote more strategic, coordinated, and effective U.S. foreign assistance on behalf of the American people. F led this Project, working in partnership with State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations and USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance and Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning. F will work with experts across the State Department, USAID, and the wider U.S. government in the months ahead to translate the report into concrete foreign assistance policies and practices.
Read the final report here.