Global Fragility Act - Report
Political Forecasting, Good Governance

New OEF/Alliance for Peacebuilding Report Provides Recommendations for implementing the Global Fragility Act

Author(s): Conor Seyle, Elizabeth Hume, Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik, Eric Keels, Dianna E. Almanza
Date: June 1, 2020
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Political Forecasting, Good Governance


In late 2019, the US government passed the Global Fragility Act as part of the consolidated budget appropriations act.  The Global Fragility Act is a major attempt to redesign how the United States approaches fragility and stabilization work, with an emphasis on improving the coordination between the US State Department, USAID, and the Department of Defense.

The GFA explicitly calls for consultation and engagement with civil society, as well as careful attention to empirical research, in implementing the Global Fragility Act.  This report, conducted in partnership with Alliance for Peacebuilding, is an attempt to develop specific recommendations for how to best implement the GFA consistent with these recommendations.

Key Findings:

The content was developed through consultations with stakeholders both within and outside of government, as well as with reference to the existing research.  Key recommendations include:

  • Recommendation 1: Consultations with civil society must be inclusive, transparent, credible, early, innovative, and frequent. 
  • Recommendation 2: Senior-level ownership and interagency cooperation are needed. Agencies must know who owns it. 
  • Recommendation 3: The US government must approach implementation holistically, intentionally, and professionally to ensure timelines are met and authorization matches timelines and appropriations. 
  • Recommendation 4: Use data-driven methods for the selection of priority countries and regions. 
  • Recommendation 5: Use evidence-based and adaptive strategies for design, monitoring and evaluation of programs. 
  • Recommendation 6: Realize that local ownership and youth and women are critical in developing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the Global Fragility Strategy (GFS) and country and regional ten-year implementation plans. 
  • Recommendation 7: To achieve a multisectoral approach, development and security assistance programs must also prevent conflict and be conflict-sensitive and integrated holistically into the strategy. 
  • Recommendation 8: Diplomatic and programmatic efforts must be linked. 
  • Recommendation 9: Use the whole iceberg: Partner and coordinate with other governments, international organizations, and the private sector in the specific country or region. 
  • Recommendation 10: Develop the human element: Staffing will determine success. 
  • Recommendation 11: Procurement reform needs to be more streamlined and less prescriptive, and result in procurement mechanisms that are faster, more diversified, and more adaptive, and which allow for longer duration of programs. 
  • Recommendation 12: Ensure that programs countering and preventing violent extremism are evidence-based and that there is a legislative fix for the material support laws. 
  • Recommendation 13: Use USAID’s existing conflict assessment methodology to target and develop prevention strategies and programming based on context-specific analysis.
  • Recommendation 14: Balance the development of prevention strategies and programming with reference to existing research on best practices, context-specific analysis, and promising new approaches. 

Related Publications

Improving Election Prediction Internationally

Written by Ryan Kennedy, David Lazer, Stefan Wojcik on February 3, 2017

Assumptions underlying election result predictions have been encountering wide criticism.

Read more
The Power of Networks in Maritime Security Report Cover

The Power of Networks in Maritime Security: What the Fight Against Piracy Can Teach Us About Irregular Migration

Written by Jens Vestergaard Madsen on September 16, 2016

Addressing the developing crisis around irregular migration by sea will require international institutions to work quickly to address the humanitarian, practical, and legal challenges posed by irregular migration.  Applying lessons learned from the

Read more
foreign policy analysis

Conditional Relationships Between Drought and Civil Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

Written by Curtis Bell, Patrick W. Keys on August 15, 2016

Few cross-national studies provide evidence of a relationship between environmental scarcity and conflict, although much of the literature claims that destabilizing effects of environmental crises can be mitigated by the right sociopolitical

Read more
United Nations Intervention Good or Bad

The UN Intervention Brigade: Extinguishing Conflict or Adding Fuel to the Flames?

on June 2, 2016

The authorization of the Intervention Brigade (IB) in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has sparked controversy in the international community over the value of such deployments for UN peace operations.

Read more
Democracy and Coup d’État

Coup d’État and Democracy

Written by Curtis Bell on February 19, 2016

This article explains coup activity in democracies by adapting insights from the literature on commitment problems and framing coup around the threats leaders and potential coup plotters pose to each other.

Read more
Empirical Trends in Peace

The Century of Peace? Empirical Trends in Peace and Conflict

Written by One Earth Future on November 2, 2015

Is a world without war possible in the 21st century?Trends in armed conflict and a developing body of social scientific research suggest that this idea is plausible.Based on a discussion of high-level experts held in 2014, this report reviews the

Read more
Non-State Actors in Maritime Security Policy Brief

Non-State Actors in Maritime Security

Written by Jens Vestergaard Madsen on August 27, 2015

As part of an ongoing lessons-learned project based on Oceans Beyond Piracy’s work with the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, OEF Research is documenting the potential role of non-state actors in maritime security.

Read more
Strengthening Maritime Security

Non-State Actors in Maritime Security

Written by Jens Vestergaard Madsen on July 20, 2015

Non-state actors have a strong counter-piracy role for the maritime sector, potentially greater than the role they play in land-based problems.

Read more