conflict pool briefing

by Campaign ~ April 15th, 2013. Filed under: News.

As part of our new campaign to be launched shortly Research Assistant Eufracia Taylor put together this briefing on the Conflict Pools.

Established in 2009, the Conflict Pool is primarily designed to prevent, manage, and resolve regional and international conflict, as well as to create conditions amenable to effective state building and economic development. At present the Conflict Pool funds 5 regional programmes which aid to prevent conflict through security sector reform, training peacekeepers, establishing and maintaining the rule of law and supporting political settlements.

The Conflict Pool was created in order to combine the skills of the Department of International Development (DfID), the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in order to construct a coherent and effective UK approach to conflict prevention. Funding decisions are made jointly between the three departments and funds are divided between them according to the activities and expenditure assigned to them each year, as seen in Figure 2. The Conflict Pool is funded through the Conflict Resources Settlement 2011-15, which also provides funding for the UK’s Peacekeeping Budget.

For the year 2011-12, the Conflict Pool budget stood at £265million, of which £76million was assigned to additional peacekeeping costs, leaving £180million for Conflict Prevention Programmes, distributed between DfID, MOD and FCO according to the chart in Figure 1.

Fig 1. Conflict Pool Resource Allocation by Dept. 2011-12 Fig 2. Conflict Pool Expenditure by Dept. 2008-09 & 2010-11
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National Audit Office, Review of the Conflict Pool March 2012, Fig.3, p6.
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Independent Commission for Aid Impact, Evaluation of Inter-Department Conflict Pool July 2012, Fig.3, p.4


The National Audit Office Review of the Conflict Pool 2012 (NAO) and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact 2012 (ICAI) have highlighted a number of concerns in regard to management and resource allocation, such as:

  1. The over commitment of Conflict Pool funds to meet additional peacekeeping costs has led to erratic funding which severely constrains the effective use of resources and has resulted in fewer Conflict Prevention Projects initiated at the outset, with many being terminated mid-year at short notice
  2. The impact this has is not fully understood as few staff members have training or experience in monitoring and evaluation, nor do they receive central guidance on what is expected, resulting in a pattern of outputs rather than outcomes and regular evaluations of ‘too early to say’
  3. The lack of expertise in risk assessment, conflict sensitivity and conflict management has contributed to poor links between departmental objectives and the actual activities they support, while also provoking concern about the lack of attention paid to the risk of unintended harm

The ICAI provided the Conflict Pool an overall assessment of ‘Amber-Red’; stating that while the programme meets some of the criteria for effectiveness and value for money, it is not performing well and significant changes should be made. Deficiencies in coherent management, resource allocation, monitoring and evaluation, and conflict expertise appear to have undermined the efficacy of the Conflict Pool and its related projects, producing some encouraging results, but few which are likely to have significant conflict prevention affects. This could potentially improve with the implementation of the 2011 Building Stability Overseas Strategy, which represents the first coherent cross-departmental strategy to co-ordinate the Conflict Pool.

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