Fighting for Change

End the creeping militarisation of the conflict pool

The Conflict Pool (CP) funding is currently spread across three government departments, which require consensus in order to push forward with a given project.

The strategic inclusion of the National Security Council means that the Ministry of Defence and the Security Services will have a say over the direction of the CP. Whilst conscience appreciates the well of expertise that exists in non-military peace building at the NSC, there is already some evidence to suggest there is already a creeping militarisation of the Conflict Pool taking place.

The funding of the CP is coming under pressure as a reserve fund for the UK contribution to international peace keeping efforts. This funding concerns itself with arming military personnel, purchasing military transport vehicles and deploying soldiers into theatres of war.

conscience argues that this undermines the non-military focus of the CP and furthermore that non-violent peacebuilding intervention is far more effective at moving towards conflict resolution and lasting peace.

Improve monitoring and transparency

The last annual report of the CP was in 2009/10 and if the CP is to be an effective policy mechanism in the future, a more consistent approach to ongoing monitoring and evaluation must be undertaken.

This has been further reinforced by reports from the National Audit Office and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact that cited a lack of clear accountable evidence for evaluation as one of the most important issues facing the CP.

These reports made a number of clear recommendations which we believe have all been accepted by the government though it has been difficult, due to a lack of transparency, to find out  the extent to which how, when and whether these have implemented.

conscience believes that the government should commit to undertaking annual reviews enabling better direction and effective scrutiny of the CP.

Develop a long-term strategic plan

From the outset the Conflict Pool has been dogged with a lack of strategic direction leading to it being used by government departments to cover overspends in other areas.

This has partly been addressed by tying the conflict pool into the Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS) the UK’s first overarching strategy on conflict prevention issues.

However there is little to no guidance on what programmes and direction to take in the different spheres in which the CP operates. Size and scope of the programmes also are not made clear – the CP often funds local-level projects but there may be instances where a widening of a particular programme may be beneficial to peacebuilding efforts, yet no framework exists to help these projects expand.

conscience argues that the conflict pool would benefit from a greater degree of strategic planning which would lead to a more comprehensive framework for long-term peacebuilding.


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