Peacebuilding Perspectives on Reforms to USAID and the State Department

August 21, 2017
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All US federal departments and agencies will create reorganization plans to “improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability” by late 2017. The Alliance for Peacebuilding has developed a memo to guide the reorganization or redesign of critical conflict prevention and violence reduction functions in the Department of State and US Agency for International Development.

The peacebuilding and development communities are deeply concerned about proposed cuts to core State and USAID accounts, the possibility of folding USAID into the State Department, and the downgrading or eliminating of offices in USAID and the Department of State.

In the new document, INCREASE EFFICIENCY, REDUCE VIOLENCE, we outline our community’s core principles for reform, including using evidence-based approaches and finding innovative solutions. We call upon the US Government to use this opportunity to think strategically about how we can best address the global epidemic of violence through our foreign policy.

Conflict prevention and violence reduction must become central pillars of foreign policy. Smarter, flexible, and more targeted investments in conflict mitigation and violence reduction programming need to be developed and adequately resourced.

We hope this process will produce innovative solutions that use a whole of government approach to create a clear strategy for reducing violence and preventing mass atrocities, and flexible funding mechanisms that allow USAID to deploy resources and personnel quickly in order to adapt to conflict environments and effectively respond to crises. Additionally, we believe it is imperative that violence reduction efforts become better coordinated across and within US agencies, with local civil society, and with international partners. These structural reforms must be accompanied with the development of better measurement tools so that we can deepen our understanding of what works and what does not.

For more information regarding AfP’s Policy & Advocacy work, please contact Liz Hume at