Conflict Mitigation and Prevention

Violent conflict and instability affect at least 50 countries and 1.5 billion people worldwide.

Many of the causes of violence, extremism and instability – such as deteriorating economies, weak or illegitimate political institutions, and competition over natural resources – are central concerns of aid. 

Our stakes in these countries are high. While global rates of poverty continue to fall, the world’s poor will increasingly be concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected countries, estimated to reach over 50 percent of the global total by 2030. Roughly 80 percent of current humanitarian assistance is aiding people affected by violence and conflict, with the vast majority of this aid spent on protracted crises. Nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have been forced from their homes due to conflict and violence. These crises often spread across borders, and state failure can breed chaos and allow transnational crime and terrorism to flourish. In fact, due to the devastating impact of conflict and fragility on development outcomes, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development elevated peace as a cross-cutting issue and adopted Goal 16 which seeks to promote peace, justice and inclusive societies.​

USAID funds programs and activities that work to mitigate and manage the causes and consequences of violent conflict, instability and extremism.  We bridge learning with action by formulating policy, such as The Development Response to Violent Extremism and Insurgency (PDF), as well as guidance on program design, monitoring and evaluation.

  • In countries experiencing political crises, demonstrating signs of fragility or emerging from conflict, USAID provides conflict assessments and generates analyses on potential drivers of resiliencies to withstand conflict.
  • USAID produces an annual iteration of its country rankings by fragility and risk of instability, and offers the interagency field-relevant, cutting-edge research into the drivers of conflict and violent extremism.
  • USAID works with other donors and fragile states themselves to develop approaches for improving aid in these areas.  This cooperation has led to important advances such as the development of tracking tools to monitor the complexities of conflict affected states specifically.

USAID has:

  • Conducted more than 85 conflict-related assessments in approximately 50 countries.
  • Published 11 annual Alert List reports and more than 10 Conflict Toolkits, focusing on issues such as land tenure, women, and religion.
  • Trained more than 900 government, interagency and non-government partners in the necessary tools to design programs and ensure a peacebuilding approach in conflict-affected environments since 2012.

Development assistance needs new ways of thinking about conflict and how aid in these contexts can be planned and implemented.  That is why USAID gives priority attention to conflict mitigation and management.

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