Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Let’s Talk About Money: A Perspective on Financing the Post-2015 Development & Peacebuilding Agenda

“The best way to prepare for the Post-2015 era is to demonstrate that when the international community commits to a global partnership for development, it means it, and directs the resources to where they are most needed.” Ban ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General, 2013

The funding of peace programs was one of the issues addressing capacity building on our agenda in last week’s session with Craig Zelizer and Cata Rojas.  This  interesting discussion inspired me to critically reflect, based on my own experience in the policy field, upon current debates around the financing of peacebuilding generally and the ability of sub-national and regional public sector donors to engage in the field effectively.  This debate is taking place against the backdrop of the emergence of a new global development agenda that will follow the Millennium Development Goals, set to expire at the end of this year.  The post-2015 development agenda, one addressed to societies in both the global north and south, is expected to be adopted at a UN Summit in New York in September after two years of intense consultation and negotiation with a broad range of national and international stakeholders.  It includes a set of 17 individual sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets aimed at combating poverty, eradicating hunger, and promoting inclusive development in all of its economic, social and environmental dimensions.  The prevention of gender based violence and the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies – goals 5 and 16 are the peace related issues included in the list.

The effective implementation of these and other goals on the agenda will require a deep commitment by the donor community to strong, diverse, conflict-sensitive development funding.  A recent agreement in Addis Ababa on Development Financing, one of many devoted to enhancing the impact of development assistance in recent years, outlines the parameters for an international funding architecture for the post-2015 development framework.  The practical implications of the Addis initiative for financing peacebuilding in particular are not, in my opinion, immediately clear.  The need to more actively involve a wide spectrum of development donors from the public and private sectors in the spirit of establishing global partnerships, was nonetheless highlighted as a necessary way forward.

Regional and local authorities, for instance in Germany, are key actors whose activities are often designed to support educational initiatives and information campaigns in their respective regions on the importance of peace and development programs.  They also provide some resources for smaller-scale projects in developing countries and critical protection services to refugee communities displaced by conflict.  Their ability however to make significant financial contributions to the global development agenda is limited.  This is due in part to decreasing budgets and a continued high demand for public funding in the field.  Stable and sustainable donor partnerships which more effectively involve local state and non-state actors offer a window of opportunity for expanding the financial pie and increasing the potential impact of each donor’s individual contribution.  This is an important step toward expanding the scope and the diversity of experience, expertise and financial resources for programs and projects in the field.  This could also improve the willingness and ability of local and regional actors to fund initiatives (e.g. promoting peace through culture) that do not neatly fit into the narrow confines of a traditional policy niche.  Creating a space for networking devoted to improving the dialogue and the cooperation between local and regional authorities, the private sector and philanthropy donors is an important area of action in this context.  It is hard work given the challenges associated with managing collaborative activities amongst institutions that may be pursuing mutual goals but with very different organizational mandates and cultures.  The effort involved is however worth it if it strengthens the scope for supporting innovative peace related development programs.

Dimitria Clayton, USA
Rotary Peace Fellow
June 2015 Session


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