By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- On Saturday, in a formal statement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented on U.S. President Biden’s new 10-year plans to implement the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability with priority partner countries and the region. The new plan is part of a broader vision that includes the Global Fragility Act (GFA) – a U.S. law designed to make preventing conflicts and promoting stability in countries prone to widespread violence or conflict – a U.S. foreign policy priority. Blinken stated that the new plans are a vital step “in advancing efforts to bring stability to conflict-affected areas and are a move toward greater global peace.” Blinken further explained that such a plan realizes “the most pressing challenges of our time do not confine themselves within national borders.” Blinken reiterated it’s through “cooperation and collaboration” that “underlying causes of violence and instability” can be addressed prior to a full-scale conflict breaking out or turning into an escalation.
Blinken also said the plans demonstrate a “commitment to reform” in how the U.S. deals with its partners, uses data and evidence to inform policymaking; and integrates diplomatic, development and security sector engagement. He stated: “The Department of State is collaborating across the U.S. government and marshaling diplomatic efforts alongside foreign assistance, including development programs and security assistance.” The secretary of state added his appreciation for “Congress’s continued bipartisan engagement” with this effort and “the steadfast commitment of government partners, local leaders, civil society, the private sector, and expert communities at home and abroad who remain dedicated to realizing the full potential of the Global Fragility Act’s long-term vision.” The GFA legislation includes peacebuilding lessons learned that federal agencies must follow that include more progressive engagement in aligning U.S. diplomatic development and security efforts, deepening cooperation with our international allies and partners in fragile states and designing more flexible approaches to include civil society. The act also provides new funding for U.S. peace and reconciliation programs abroad that were under resourced.