Investing in peacebuilding | Letters

Our nation’s budget should reflect the concerns of its citizens. We believe peacebuilding and reconciliation programs represent an important means to facilitate non-violent conflict resolution. These programs effectively create cultures of peace by bringing together adversarial groups in safe spaces to address divisions and work toward common goals.

Investing in peace not only saves human suffering, but also saves U.S. taxpayer dollars. The Institute for Economics and Peace, in fact, has concluded that every dollar invested in peacebuilding “carries a potential $16 reduction in the cost of armed conflict.” Peacebuilding programs work, they save lives, and they are cost-effective. Unfortunately, U.S. support for this work has been persistently underfunded. In fact, our country spends 200 times more on war than on peacebuilding. We must do better!

We urge Rep. Rick Larsen to strongly support and advocate for efforts in Congress to increase peacebuilding funding. Specifically, we urge the following appropriations be included for FY24:

+ $40 million to Reconciliation Programs

+ $66 million to the Complex Crises Fund

+ $25 million to Atrocities Prevention Programs

Each of these programs provide critical tools to meet today’s challenges and facilitate the development of a framework toward sustainable peace.

As U.S. citizens, we are truly alarmed by the recent dramatic growth of violence around the world. More needs to be done in a preventative sense, for all of our sakes. We sincerely hope Representative Larsen will push for these requests to make a positive difference in our world.

The San Juan Islands Advocacy Team is a group of concerned citizens from the 2nd Congressional District of Washington working with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) to lobby Congress for a sane and nonviolent foreign policy.

San Juan Islands Advocacy Team

Andy Hiester, Eastsound

Charles Janeway, Lopez Island

Tom Rawson, Eastsound

Linda Ellsworth, Eastsound

Micki Jackson, Bellingham

Allen Stockbridge, Bellingham

Colleen Curtis, Bellingham

Tom Ewell, Clinton

Jerry Graville, Lopez Island

Iris Graville, Lopez Island

Kathy Cope, San Juan Island