- I wish to update the House on how the Government has been supporting our national security interests through conflict prevention, peace building, stabilisation, peacekeeping and conflict resolution using the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
- The CSSF replaced the Conflict Pool in April 2015, as part of a new, more strategic approach to enhancing the delivery of our national security interests. The CSSF is one of two funding instruments overseen by the National Security Adviser. My Rt. Hon friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury will be providing a parallel update to Parliament today on the Prosperity Fund, which operates on a similar cross-Government basis.
- Last year the Government laid a statement before the House announcing the creation of the CSSF. As announced last November in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), for the current financial year CSSF funding has increased to £1.127 billion and it will increase by a further 19% over this spending review period, reaching £1.322 billion a year by 2019. The CSSF is now one of the world’s largest mechanisms for addressing conflict and instability. Its programmes deliver against over 40 cross Government strategies set by the National Security Council. Together, these activities help to secure the UK, promote peace and stability overseas and contribute directly to the SDSR’s objectives. The CSSF is designed as a flexible resource. It is supporting the peace processes including that in Colombia, tackling organised crime in the Caribbean, helping Ukraine to build its resilience to withstand external threats, funding a doubling of British UN peacekeepers, and has supported reforming the police and militaries in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Without the CSSF the UK and our international partners would be less secure.
- Parliamentary accountability for taxpayers’ money spent via the CSSF is provided primarily through the Joint Committee for the National Security Strategy. Each autumn, the NSC agrees overall annual allocations for the CSSF, though these may change during the year in response to crises. The NSC reviews strategies in the spring. Regional Boards on which all NSC departments are represented are responsible for overseeing delivery of programmes against these strategies. A joint unit – the NSS Joint Programme Hub – provides the secretariat, advises the NSC on funding and delivery against the strategies, and advises the Regional Boards and programme teams on financial management and monitoring and evaluation.
- The Government has used the CSSF to mitigate the spill-over of the Syrian conflict into Jordan and Lebanon. We have supported Jordan’s security agencies to maintain its stability in the context of an influx of refugees equivalent to 10% of its population. We have also established community police stations in Syrian refugee camps and trained Jordanian community police. This programme (funded initially by the Conflict Pool and now the CSSF) has had a tangible impact: security incidents in the camps dropped by two-thirds between 2013 and 2014. We continue to assist the Lebanese military in securing their border with Syria to prevent Daesh’s attempts to infiltrate Lebanon. We have trained 5,782 troops and enabled Lebanon to secure 75% of the border. In Africa we are helping to tackle terrorist groups, including training the Africa Union peacekeepers in Somalia and capacity-building for the Somali military. We have also ensured women’s participation in building Somalia’s future through its state-building processes. In Nigeria we have used CSSF funds to work with the Nigerian armed forces in tackling Boko Haram.
- The Government is using CSSF funds to promote a political process and save lives in Syria. This includes training and equipping over 2700 volunteers across northern Syria to carry out search & rescue, fire-fighting and first aid. These ‘White Helmets’ have saved over 50,000 lives since March 2013.
- Gender equality is embedded throughout the delivery of the CSSF. Last year the CSSF spent £26m explicitly on activities addressing gender equality and a further £159m on programmes with elements which addressed gender equality.
- CSSF funding is strengthening the multilateral system, supporting the UN and other international organisations, to develop more effective multilateral responses to instability. The CSSF funds our contributions to the UN peacekeeping budget. We are the sixth biggest contributor, spending over £300 million in 2015. We are also using CSSF funds to help reform the UN and UN peacekeeping, coordinating outreach to Member States to secure pledges of personnel for peace operations and to assist with the transition from pledges to deployments.
- The SDSR announced that the CSSF will incorporate additional programmes from 2016/17. These include the Good Governance Fund for the Eastern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans, the North Africa Good Governance Fund, a Migration Fund and a programme for the Overseas Territories.
Conflict Stability and Security Fund resources, FY16/17
Peacekeeping & Multilateral
Security & Defence
Delivery Support, including the Stabilisation Unit & National School of Government International
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: