Britain is pumping out £684 million in the 2014-15 financial year to promote stability, including in Zimbabwe, and will increase this to £1 billion in the 2015-16 financial year, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague said yesterday.
He told the House of Commons that the funding under its Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS) was central to British national interests and was aimed at “supporting the development of societies with strong and legitimate institutions which can manage tensions peacefully”.
The size of the overall settlement increases to £683 million in financial year 2014-15. This will be increased to £1 billion next year but the programme will then be known as the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
The bulk of the money would be spent on the Middle East and North Africa while the allocation for the Sub-Saharan Africa programme would also be increased.
“This reflects our continued commitment to security, stabilisation and the political process in Somalia, increased resources for additional work in Nigeria and in the Sahel region, and continuing commitments in north and South Sudan, Zimbabwe, east and central Africa, and with the African Union,” Hague said.
It is not clear what kind of stability Britain is supporting in Zimbabwe but its funds are not channelled through the government but through non-governmental organisations.
Hague’s full statement:
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
William Hague (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Richmond (Yorks), Conservative)
Together with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Defence, I wish to update the House about our plans for funding conflict prevention, stabilisation and peacekeeping activities through the conflict resources settlement for the financial year 2014-15. Our written ministerial statement of 13 June 2013, Hansard , column 14WS, provided details of indicative planned allocations for financial year 2014-15, covering both the conflict pool and the peacekeeping budget. This statement updates the House on adjustments made to these planned allocations.
We have now reviewed conflict pool allocations for financial year 2014-15. This funding will continue to be spent within the strategic direction set by the building stability overseas strategy (BSOS) and remains an important priority for the Government. It is central to our national interests to enhance stability by supporting the development of societies with strong and legitimate institutions which can manage tensions peacefully.
The size of the overall settlement increases to £683 million in financial year 2014-15, with the peacekeeping budget continuing to have first call on available resources. Taking into account trends in peacekeeping demands and the recent significant savings we secured at the UN, in particular in the tri-annual negotiations on the scale of contributions, £444 million has been set aside for the peacekeeping budget, comprising £70 million of official development assistance (ODA) drawn from the conflict pool and £374 million non-ODA funding from the Treasury reserve. We have therefore been able to allocate £239 million to the conflict pool. This represents an increase of £10 million over last year’s allocation.
The middle east and north Africa programme (MENA) will be increased substantially to provide additional resources for the crises in Syria and Libya as well as their regional consequences. We will continue our commitments to Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq. The MENA programme is now the largest in the conflict pool, reflecting the importance of improved stability in the region to UK national interests.
There will also be an increased allocation for the Africa programme. This reflects our continued commitment to security, stabilisation and the political process in Somalia, increased resources for additional work in Nigeria and in the Sahel region, and continuing commitments in north and South Sudan, Zimbabwe, east and central Africa, and with the African Union.
Funding for Afghanistan remains significant but continues on a downward trend reflecting the planned conclusion of conflict pool-funded stabilisation activities in Helmand and other changes in the UK’s approach ahead of transition later this year. Of note, under the conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF), which will replace the conflict resources settlement in financial year 2015-16, we will provide £70 million per annum to support development of the Afghan national security forces (ANSF).
The south Asia programme will continue to focus on Pakistan, including work with civil society and in the border areas with Afghanistan. The programme will continue other regional commitments including on relations between India and Pakistan and in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The wider Europe programme will continue to cover the costs of UK personnel in the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), our commitments to EU peacekeeping and security sector reform missions in the western Balkans, and civil society work in central Asia and the Caucasus.
The thematic strengthening alliances and partnerships programme will receive an increased allocation to support UN work on peacekeeping and protection issues, for defence leadership and for activity in support of the ending sexual violence initiative (ESVI).
The conflict pool will continue to provide funding for the tri-departmental stabilisation unit, which plays an active role in supporting conflict pool delivery.
£20 million of conflict pool funding will again be provided for an early action facility (EAF) to respond to unforeseen demands and new opportunities. In financial year 2013-14 the EAF was used for work in Syria and Lebanon, Central African Republic and Ukraine. For financial year 2014-15 we are pre-committing £5 million of funding to the MENA programme to help avoid the disruption of planned programming in other regions.
Financial year 2014-15 will be the final year of the tri-departmental conflict pool in its current form. An evaluation of the conflict pool’s impact during the course of this spending review period will be carried out at the end of financial year 2014-15 and will be communicated to the House. A new £1 billion conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF) will be established in financial year 2015-16 and will build on the existing conflict pool to help prevent conflict and tackle threats to UK interests arising from instability overseas. The CSSF will be governed by the National Security Council, with a more strategic cross-government approach that will draw on the most effective combination of defence, diplomacy, development assistance, security and intelligence capabilities. These are all at the heart of the Prime Minister’s “golden thread” theory of development and can play a vital role in tacking the complex causes and impacts of conflict and instability, as set out in the national security strategy.