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Conflict Funding (2010-11)

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 25 March 2010

I, together with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for International Development, wish to inform the House about our plans for conflict funding for the next financial year.

The 2007 comprehensive spending review settlement set the programme resources available for conflict prevention and stabilisation for FY 2010-11 at £229 million (an uplift of £50 million from FY 2009-10), with an additional call on the Treasury Reserve for assessed peacekeeping costs, currently capped at £374 million. Taking into account end-year flexibility arrangements, the UK’s total available conflict resource for FY 2010-11 is likely to be £628.5 million. This excludes the net additional costs of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq where separate arrangements are in place to draw on the Treasury Reserve.

We have agreed that we will earmark £450 million to cover the cost of assessed peacekeeping contributions, allowing us to meet our international legal obligations.

We have increased funding from £171 million in 2009-10 to £178.5 million in 2010-11 for discretionary activity funded through the tri-departmental conflict pool (CP). The conflict pool (CP) will continue to fund discretionary conflict prevention, stabilisation and peacekeeping activity under the existing five programmes: South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Wider Europe and strategic support to international organisations.

The allocation for South Asia will be £84.8 million, which includes an allocation of £82 million for activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reflecting the very high priority that we attach to this region. We will continue all conflict-related activity in Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand, where a large proportion of resources is spent on stabilisation programmes. We will increase funding for Pakistan. We are also in a position to maintain activity in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

In Africa, the total allocation will be £42.2 million, which will be used to fund conflict-prevention programmes and discretionary peacekeeping engagements in priority countries such as Sudan, DRC, Kenya and Zimbabwe. We will increase funding for Somalia to reflect its increasing priority. HMG will also maintain its focus on building Africa’s capacity to prevent and manage conflict.

In Wider Europe, the total allocation will be £22.2 million. This will allow HMG to continue to fund a UK contribution to UN peacekeeping in Cyprus, conflict prevention work in the Balkans such as rule of law and security sector reform and conflict-prevention work in Georgia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. We will maintain also our commitment to EU and OSCE operations in the Balkans and Caucasus.

In the Middle East, the total allocation will be £13.8 million. Within the allocation of £13.8 million we will increase resources for conflict prevention in Yemen and for programmes supporting the middle east peace process (MEPP). We will also continue to support conflict-prevention programmes in Lebanon and to fund stabilisation activity in Iraq.

The £6.5 million Strategic Support to International Organisations programme, which provides support for international organisations, includes support for security sector reform advisory capacity and for the United Nations Rule of Law Unit, the Peacebuilding Support Office, a Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support package and defence education.

These allocations will allow the conflict pool to retain a reserve of £9 million to act primarily as a buffer against fluctuations in the exchange rate and increases in assessed peacekeeping or other conflict-related costs. The likely cost of the assessed contributions will be kept under review.

We will continue to prioritise within the resources available. We remain committed to maintaining our significant contribution to international peacekeeping, and to funding essential conflict prevention and stabilisation activity in priority regions.