Text: H.R.5273 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/14/2018)


115th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5273


To reduce global fragility and violence by improving the capacity of the United States to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in pilot countries, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 14, 2018

Mr. Engel (for himself, Mr. Poe of Texas, Mr. McCaul, Mr. Smith of Washington, Mr. Keating, and Mr. Cook) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


A BILL

To reduce global fragility and violence by improving the capacity of the United States to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in pilot countries, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) According to the United Nations, an unprecedented 66 million people around the world are currently forcibly displaced from their homes. This is the highest level of global displacement ever recorded.

(2) According to the World Bank, violence and violent conflict, rather than natural disasters, are now the leading causes of displacement worldwide, driving 80 percent of humanitarian needs. The Bank also notes that the same conflicts have accounted for the majority of forcibly displaced persons every year since 1991.

(3) According to the World Health Organization, preventable forms of violence kill at least 1.4 million people each year and cause debilitating physical and mental harm to many others.

(4) According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, violence containment costs the global economy $14.3 trillion a year, or 13.4 percent of the world’s GDP. If violence were to decrease uniformly across the world by just 10 percent, the global economy would gain $1.43 trillion each year.

(5) Violence and violent conflict underpin many of the United States Government’s key national security challenges. Notably, violent conflicts allow for environments in which terrorist organizations recruit and thrive, while the combination of violence, corruption, poverty, poor governance, and underdevelopment often enables transnational gangs and criminal networks to wreak havoc and commit atrocities worldwide.

(6) According to new research by the University of Maryland and University of Pittsburgh, exposure to violence increases support for violence and violent extremism. Research increasingly finds exposure to violence as a predictor of future participation in violence, including violent extremism.

(7) Since 2002, a body of research has emerged on failed or fragile states. The World Bank defines a fragile state as a low-income country characterized by weak state capacity, weak state legitimacy, or both, leaving citizens vulnerable to a range of shocks.

(8) United States foreign policy and assistance efforts in highly violent and fragile states remain governed by an outdated patchwork of authorities that prioritize responding to immediate needs rather than solving the problems that cause them. United States Ambassadors, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Directors, and commanders of combatant commands do not have the policy framework or tools they need to align United States policy or assistance with an overarching, long-term strategy to reduce and prevent global fragility and violence.

(9) Lessons learned over the past 20 years, documented by the 2013 Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Lessons Learned Study and the 2016 Fragility Study Group report, show that effective, sustained United States efforts to reduce violence and stabilize fragile and violence-affected states require clearly defined goals and strategies, adequate long-term funding, rigorous and iterative conflict analysis, coordination across the United States Government, including strong civil-military coordination, and integration with national and sub-national partners, including local civil society organizations, local justice systems, and local governance structures.

(10) United States National Security Strategies over the past 15 years have regularly affirmed that the United States has a national security interest in improving its capacity to prevent, manage, and mitigate violence and violent conflicts in order to mitigate the consequences of armed conflict, including humanitarian disasters, terrorism, organized crime, increased risk of mass atrocities, and reversed development.

(11) According to the Small Arms Survey, the extent to which the international community will be able to bring down global levels of violence will depend largely on the actions taken by states to implement more tangible multilateral commitments to improve governance, promote inclusive development, and protect human rights, among other things.

SEC. 3. Statement of policy.

It is the policy of the United States to—

(1) ensure that all relevant United States Government departments and agencies coordinate to achieve coherent, long-term goals for programs designed to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in fragile and violence-affected countries, including when implementing the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Initiative described in section 4;

(2) seek to improve the global, regional, and local coordination of relevant international and multilateral development and donor organizations regarding efforts to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in fragile and violence-affected countries, and, where possible, align such efforts with multilateral goals and indicators;

(3) expand and enhance the effectiveness of foreign assistance programs and activities that reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in fragile and violence-affected countries, including programs intended to improve the indicators described in section 4(g);

(4) support the research and development of effective approaches to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in fragile and violence-affected countries; and

(5) improve the monitoring, evaluation, learning, and adaptation tools and authorities for relevant United States Government departments and agencies working to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in fragile and violence-affected countries.

SEC. 4. Global Initiative to Reduce Fragility and Violence.

(a) Initiative.—The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and departments, shall establish an interagency initiative to be referred to as the “Global Initiative to Reduce Fragility and Violence” relating to reducing and addressing the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility, with a focus on ten pilot countries.

(b) Implementation strategy.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of USAID, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and departments, shall develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees an initial interagency strategy for implementing the Global Initiative to Reduce Fragility and Violence required under subsection (a), including the following:

(1) Descriptions of the organizational steps each relevant Federal agency or department will take to improve strategic planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and coordination among and within such agencies and departments under such initiative.

(2) Descriptions of the initial goals, objectives, and role of each relevant Federal agency or department under such initiative.

(3) Descriptions of the steps each relevant Federal agency or department will take to improve coordination and collaboration with international development organizations, international donors, multilateral organizations, and the private sector under such initiative.

(4) Descriptions of potential areas of improved public and private sector research and development, including from academic, philanthropic, and civil society organizations, on more effective approaches to reducing and preventing the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in fragile and violence-affected countries.

(5) Plans for regularly evaluating and updating on an iterative basis the information described in this subsection.

(c) Individual pilot country plans.—The strategy required under subsection (b) shall contain an annex identifying the ten pilot countries designated pursuant to subsection (d), and for each such pilot country contain a mission-led, 10-year pilot country plan establishing initial goals, objectives, and plans of action for United States Government activities, including development, security, and other assistance activities that are relevant to reducing and addressing the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility, including the following:

(1) Interagency plans for coordination and implementation that define the appropriate role of each relevant Federal agency or department and processes for coordinating among and within such agencies and departments when carrying out each such pilot country plan.

(2) Interagency plans to ensure appropriate local actors, including governance and civil society entities, and organizations led by women, youth, and under-represented communities have roles in developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and updating relevant aspects of each such pilot country plan.

(3) Clear, transparent, and measurable initial political, diplomatic, security, and developmental benchmarks, timetables, and performance metrics for each such pilot country, with a focus on outcome metrics, including such metrics that capture grievances and patterns that cause violence and, where applicable, align with best practice indicators determined by Sustainable Development Goal #16 and the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s Fragility Framework.

(4) Interagency plans for monitoring and evaluation, adaptive management, and iterative learning that provide for regular and iterative policy and program adaptations based on monitoring and evaluation findings and other evidence generated in each such pilot country and across such pilot countries.

(5) Descriptions of the available policy tools to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in each such pilot country.

(6) Descriptions of the resources and authorities that would be required for each relevant Federal agency or department to best implement each such pilot country plan, as well as evidence-based iterative updates to such plans.

(7) Descriptions of potential areas of improved partnership between the United States Government and international development organizations, relevant international donors, multilateral organizations, and the private sector regarding efforts to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in each such pilot country.

(8) Plans for regularly evaluating and updating on an iterative basis the plans described in this subsection.

(d) Pilot country designation.—The Administrator of USAID, in coordination with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, shall carry out the following actions:

(1) Develop the list of candidate countries under consideration for the initiative required under this section on the basis of the following:

(A) Current levels of violence, violent conflict, and fragility, as determined by empirical data, such as the following, to the extent such data are available:

(i) Total levels of deaths due to violence and violence-related deaths per 100,000 population in the candidate country under consideration.

(ii) Total levels of violent injuries and violence exposure levels in such country.

(iii) Violent injuries and violence exposure levels per 100,000 population in such country.

(iv) Levels of persons forcibly displaced, whether internally or internationally, due to violence or violent conflict in such country.

(v) Total levels of gender-based violence and violence against children and youth in such country.

(vi) Prevalence of physical or sexual violence in the last 12 months in such country.

(vii) Levels of mortality due to armed group violence in such country.

(viii) Levels of citizen support for armed groups in such country.

(ix) Such country’s ranking on select global fragility lists and select good governance indexes.

(x) Such country’s ranking on select United States Government conflict and atrocity early warning watch lists.

(xi) Such country’s vulnerability to current or future transnational threats.

(B) An assessment of the potential for United States Government activities to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility in each candidate country under consideration, including the capacity and commitment of relevant entities within each such country to participate in the Global Initiative to Reduce Fragility and Violence under this section.

(2) Organize such candidate countries under consideration into the categories of “Core Country” and “Prevention Country” such that—

(A) a candidate country shall be a Core Country for purposes of pilot country selection where current levels of violence, violent conflict, and fragility are highest in the world, as determined by the data specified in paragraph (1); and

(B) a candidate country shall be a Prevention Country for purposes of pilot country selection where current levels of violence, violent conflict, and fragility are lower than such levels in a Core Country, as determined by the data specified in paragraph (1), but warning signs for future violence, violent conflict, and fragility are significant and strategic prevention efforts are likely to make a meaningful difference in mitigating or preventing future violence, violent conflict, and fragility.

(3) Designate, on the basis of the criteria specified in paragraph (1), 10 pilot countries, organized with not fewer than three countries in each of the Core and Prevention categories described in paragraph (2) and not more than four countries in each geographic region, as determined by the Department of State.

(4) Consider when making designations pursuant to paragraph (3) designating multiple countries in the same region if the drivers of violence, violent conflict, and fragility are transnational in such region.

(e) Stakeholder consultation.—In addition to the individuals specified in subsection (a), the initiative required under this section shall be developed in coordination with—

(1) the United States Ambassador, USAID Mission Director, geographic Combatant Commands, and relevant inter-agency country teams in each applicable country; and

(2) representatives of local civil society and national and local governance entities, as well as relevant international development organizations, multilateral organizations, donors, and relevant private, academic, and philanthropic entities, as appropriate.

(f) Congressional consultation.—The Administrator of USAID, in coordination with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense (or their respective designees), shall provide briefings to the appropriate congressional committees not later than—

(1) 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act regarding the countries selected as pilot countries for the initiative required under this section;

(2) 90 days after such date of enactment regarding progress on the individual pilot country plans under subsection (c); and

(3) 30 days after submission of such initiative regarding plans for implementing such initiative and such individual pilot country plans.

(g) Measuring violence, violent conflict, and fragility.—For the purposes of implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the effectiveness of the individual pilot country plans required under subsection (c), progress towards reducing and addressing the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility shall be measured by indicators established for each such pilot country by relevant inter-agency country teams in each such pilot country, informed by consultations with the stakeholders specified in subsection (e)(2). Such indicators shall be based on the data described in subsection (d)(1)(A), as appropriate, and updated regularly to account for any improvements in the available indicators and to include indicators for additional priority areas, such as:

(1) Improving inclusive, transparent, and accountable power structures, including effective, legitimate, and resilient national and sub-national institutions.

(2) Improving effective and respected conflict prevention, mitigation, management, and resolution mechanisms.

(3) Reducing levels of citizen support for violence, violent extremism, and adversarial armed groups.

(4) Ensuring strong foundations for plurality, non-discrimination, human rights, rule of law, and equal access to justice.

(5) Addressing political, social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities, grievances, and conflicts.

(6) Ensuring inclusive economic development and enabling business environments.

(7) Improving resilience to transnational stresses and shocks, including from organized crime and violent extremist organizations.

SEC. 5. Implementation and updates of pilot country plans.

The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and departments, relevant United States Ambassadors, USAID Mission Directors, and other relevant individuals with responsibility over activities in each pilot country designated pursuant to section 4 shall ensure that—

(1) the Global Initiative to Reduce Fragility and Violence and each individual pilot country plan required under such section are implemented and updated on a regular and iterative basis;

(2) such initiative and individual pilot country plans are used to guide United States Government policy at a senior level and are incorporated into relevant strategies and plans across the United States Government and in each such pilot country;

(3) detailed and iterative goals, objectives, and plans of action are developed, implemented, updated, and coordinated among and within each relevant Federal agency or department for the duration of each such individual pilot country plan;

(4) resources for all relevant activities in each such pilot country are requested and utilized consistent with such initiative and individual pilot country plans; and

(5) the results of program monitoring and evaluation under such initiative and individual pilot country plans are regularly reviewed and utilized to determine continuation, modification, or termination of future year programming and that regular and iterative policy and program adaptations are made to each such plan.

SEC. 6. Biennial reports and congressional consultation.

(a) Biennial reports.—Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act and every two years thereafter until full implementation of the 10-year individual pilot country plans required under section 4, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and departments, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on progress made and lessons learned with respect to the Global Initiative to Reduce Fragility and Violence and each individual pilot country plan required under section 4, including—

(1) descriptions of steps taken to incorporate such initiative and such individual pilot country plans into relevant strategies and plans that affect such pilot countries;

(2) accountings of all funding received and obligated to implement each such individual pilot country plan during the past two years, as well as funding requested, planned, and projected for the following two years;

(3) descriptions of progress made towards the goals and objectives established for each such individual pilot country, including progress made towards achieving the specific targets, metrics, and indicators described in section 4; and

(4) descriptions of updates made during the past two years to the goals, objectives, plans of action, and other elements described in section 4(c) for each such individual pilot country plan, as well as any changes made to programs based on the results of monitoring and evaluation in accordance with sections 4 and 5.

(b) Congressional consultation.—The Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and departments shall jointly consult with the appropriate congressional committees not less often than annually regarding progress made on the initiative and individual pilot country plans required under section 4. The consultation requirement under this subsection shall terminate upon full implementation of the 10-year individual pilot country plans required under such section.

SEC. 7. Sense of Congress regarding assistance for the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Initiative.

It is the sense of Congress that the President, together with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and departments, should—

(1) support the creation of a “Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Fund” to help support USAID and Department of State activities under the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Initiative and individual pilot country plans required under section 4;

(2) work with Congress to provide funding that allows for more adaptive program planning and implementation under such initiative and individual pilot country plans, including through exemptions from specific and minimum funding levels when such exemptions would make programs better able to respond to monitoring and evaluation or changed circumstances in relevant countries;

(3) work with Congress to provide funding that better integrates conflict and violence reduction activities into other program areas where appropriate; and

(4) support the creation of a multilateral fund and other international initiatives to improve global public and private support for coordinating and funding efforts to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility.

SEC. 8. GAO review.

(a) In general.—Not later than five years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an independent review of all United States Government activities in each pilot country designated pursuant to section 4.

(b) Matters To be included.—The review required under subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1) An assessment of the extent to which United States Government activities in each pilot country designated pursuant to section 4 are being implemented in accordance with the relevant individual pilot country plan required under such section.

(2) Descriptions of all activities that are being implemented in accordance with each such individual pilot country plan, including, with respect to each such activity, the role of each relevant Federal agency or department, the entities responsible for implementation, and the funding level.

(3) Assessments of the processes and procedures for coordinating among and within each relevant Federal agency or department when implementing each such individual pilot country plan.

(4) Assessments of the monitoring and evaluation efforts under each such individual pilot country plan, including assessments of the progress made and lessons learned with respect to each such plan, as well as any changes made to activities based on the results of such monitoring and evaluation.

(5) Recommendations for changes necessary to better implement United States Government activities in accordance with such individual pilot country plans, as well as recommendations for any changes to such plans.

SEC. 9. Appropriate congressional committees defined.

The term “appropriate congressional committees” means—

(1) the Committees on Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Appropriations of the Senate; and

(2) the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Appropriations of the House of Representatives.