Conflict, Security and Stability Fund

Conscience regularly works with MPs and Civil servants to protect and expand the government’s approach to peaceful conflict resolution. Conscience makes recommendations on how peacebuilding money can be better spent, or organised more efficiently.

In 2015, the £1 billion Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) was launched, with the explicit remit of increasing overseas security by funding local projects that promote peace and stability.  It is larger and more robust than the Conflict Pool, which it replaced.

It was set up because measures used by the Conflict Pool were shown to be successful.

In 2017/18, CSSF funded projects include:

  • Providing humanitarian relief to the Overseas Territories in response to Hurricane Irma.
  • Supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces to secure the border with Syria for the first time.
  • Encouraging and enabling Pakistani women to participate in the democratic process, which led to over 405,000 women registering for National Identity Cards.
  • Supporting the Government of Iraq, and UN agencies, to rebuild essential infrastructure and clear explosives left over from the war. This has enabled over 3.6 million people to return home.

However, the CSSF has been justifiably criticised.

Analysis from the organisation Global Justice Now has highlighted problems with the CSSF that suggest urgent reform is needed. The three fundamental issues are:

  • Money from the CSSF fund is increasingly diverted to prop up ordinary military and defence spending. CSSF is considered to be an easy source of money when the pot is low. It is being used to fund military and counter-terrorism projects that do not actively promote peace. Conscience argues that the fund needs to be spent on reversing the causes of war and terrorism, for example by promoting inclusive development.
  • It is funding ‘security’ forces in several states involved in appalling human rights abuses, thus the UK risks complicity in these violations.
  • It is not transparent.

Conscience is working with other peace organisations for reform of the CSSF, to ensure it delivers global security by funding projects that can be shown to reduce violence and promote peace effectively.

To date Conscience has

  • Contributed to a Parliamentary inquiry on how Overseas Development Aid is spent.
  • Worked with the Independent Commission for Aid Impact to review how the CSSF should operate.
  • Met Civil Servants from the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office to discuss lack of transparency of the CSSF, which has meant that we cannot evaluate its effectiveness or see that it is a real tool for change.
  • Asked Parliamentary questions to ensure that effective reform of CSSF is on the government’s agenda

Pressure from Conscience and other peace groups ended the poor practices in the predecessor fund, the Conflict Pool.  Problems with the Conflict Pool included a small budget, a lack of annual reporting and the over-commitment of funds to meet additional peacekeeping costs.

The CSSF has a much larger budget than the Conflict Pool, and has more productive and coherent policies. However it needs to be transparent. Constant vigilance is needed to make sure that its funds are not diverted but are committed to the active promotion of peace.

If well managed, accountable, and carefully overseen we, as conscientious objectors to paying for war through our taxes, may find that this is a suitable fund in which our taxes can be spent. Conscience will continue to push for this to happen.

A world without war is only possible if there is a sustained investment in peace.

 

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