Nancy Lindborg: Finding common ground for development and defense

The “three D’s” of foreign policy — development, diplomacy and defense — haven’t always been on the same page, but they may be getting there.

Crises and disasters are complex, and the response efforts they demand are often equally complex, thrusting agencies and departments with very different mandates into close cooperation. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Defense, for example, operate in wildly different ways. But when disaster strikes, and a U.S. response has to mobilize, coordination between them is key.

That has worked better in some areas than others, Nancy Lindborg, president of the U.S. Institute of Peace, told Devex in this exclusive #ConflictinContext interview. Mutual understanding between USAID and the DOD has grown up over the last decade when it comes to natural disaster response efforts. The next step will be bringing that sense of cooperation and “common protocol” to the realm of conflict and fragile states.

Nancy Lindborg, president of the United States Institute of Peace, explains the need for better coordination between USAID and the Department of Defense in responding to conflict and fragile states.

In conflict-affected and fragile states, real change happens over long time horizons, longer often than policymakers, planners, and taxpayers would like to believe.

“We are still in [the United States] dealing with the repercussions of conflicts 200 years ago,” Lindborg said.

The USIP chief described one initiative, in particular, that has the potential to put fragile states on the path toward peace, reconciliation and good governance, according to their own initiative and commitment.

Click on the video below to hear more about this pathway toward peace:

The USIP chief describes one initiative, in particular, that has the potential to put fragile states on the path toward peace.

Conflict in Context is a monthlong global conversation on conflict, transition and recovery hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, Cordaid, Mercy Corps, OSCE and USAID. We’ll decode the challenges and highlight the opportunities countries face while in crisis and what the development community is doing to respond. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #ConflictinContext.

About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.

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