Memorandum from the Department for International
Report on the Africa Conflict Prevention
Pool for the Quadripartite Committee
In April 2001 the Secretary of State for International
Development, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary wrote a joint
letter to the Chairs of the Select Committees with information
about the establishment of the pooled arrangements for conflict
prevention work. The Secretary of State also stated that they
would keep the Select Committees informed about progress on both
the Africa Pool and on the Global Pool (covering work outside
of sub-Saharan Africa). This report summarises the main achievements
and issues that have arisen in the first year of operation of
the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool. It also outlines key
areas of work that are being developed under the Africa Pool over
the next period.
The Africa Conflict Prevention Pool was established
in April 2001 as one of two Pools (the other covers work outside
sub-Saharan Africa). The Africa Pool aims to improve the effectiveness
of UK policy on conflict prevention/reduction, peace support activities
and deliver better policy outcomes. The Pool combines the work
and resources of the three main government Departments (DFID,
FCO and MOD) engaged in conflict related work in Africa.
IN FY 2001-02
Key achievements in the past year include:
(a) Improved inter-departmental policy coordination
In its first year, the Africa Pool has succeeded
in promoting an improved, better-coordinated UK conlfict prevention
strategy that will increase the UK's conflict prevention effectiveness
and leverage. As a result of the Pool arrangements DFID, FCO and
MOD now coordinate and work more closely together and this has
improved understanding of the issues and added value to the work
of individual Departments.
The linkages between policy level work and implementation
have been strengthened through more regular exchanges of information,
including the creation of inter-Departmental working groups for
the geographic and thematic priority areas within Whitehall and
at country/regional levels. Examples of improved joint working
and a strengthened UK approach in the past year include: a closely
co-ordinated programme for security sector reform in Sierra Leone;
and support for the South African led Special Protection Force
in Burundi. The existence of the Pool also enabled the UK to respond
more flexibly and appropriately to in-year requirements, such
as in Burundi.
(b) Better policy analysis and implementation
Improved coordination between Departments has
produced higher quality of policy analyses and the development
of inter-departmental geographical and thematic priority strategies.
Ministers agreed medium term priorities for the Pool based on
a number of factors including: an assessment of the overall conflict
environment in Africa, including the impact of specific conflicts;
the geographical and thematic areas where UK support can achieve
the most impact in resolving specific conflicts; the opportunity
cost of the UK not making an early intervention on peacekeeping
and progrmmes; whether other international and regional actors
are better placed to intervene; the range and cope of policy instruments
that the UK has at its disposal to deal with conflict issues;
and areas where the UK can exert leverage.
In FY 2001-02, the Africa Pool inherited a large
proportion of legacy activities based on previous individual Departmental
commitments. These activities were scrutinised to determine the
nature of the commitments and how they fitted within a more strategic
UK approach to conflict prevention/reduction and peacekeeping,
jointly developed by the relevant Departments.
Ministers provided guidance that the Africa
Pool should focus on a relatively small number of key geographic
and thematic priorities over the following period. These are:
Geographic: Sierra Leone,
Great Lakes (DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda), Angola, Sudan, Nigeria
and South Africa;
Thematic: Tackling the
economic and financial causes of conflict; Promoting Security
Sector Reform; and Building African Peace Support capacity and
Individual strategies have been developed for
all the geographic priorities and work on the thematic strategies
will be completed by September 2002. Departments have formalised
a process of analysing the conflict environment in Africa on a
six monthly basis. This process also assists in reviewing Pool
priorities and strategies.
(c) A stronger UK contribution to international
The Pool arrangements represent a new way for
governments to improve policy coordination in addressing conflict
in Africa. They have attracted attention within the UK, with EC
partners and internationally. The release of the "Causes
of Conflict in sub-Saharan Africa" Framework Paper in 2001,
and the policy dialogue that ensured, contributed to international
policy discussions. The development and implementation of the
geographical and thematic strategies has strengthened the UK's
contribution to international efforts to prevent and reduce conflicts
in Africa. The Pool arrangements have facilitated the dialogue
with key international partners, including the US and France,
on issues such as building African peace support capacity. They
have also assisted the development of the G8 Action Plan for
Africathe UK was responsible for drafting the Discussion
Document on the peace and security aspects of that plan.
To improve awareness of the connection between
the UK's contribution to conflict prevention and peacekeeping,
the overall budget for the Africa Pool covers both Programmes
and Peacekeeping elements. This enables Pool officials to closely
monitor the balance of resources between these two elements. In
FY 2001-02 the budget for the Africa Pool consisted of £50
million for conflict prevention/reduction programmes and an initial
estimate of £52.3 million for UN peacekeeping.
Ministers agreed to maintain an initial Reserve
of £10 million from the total programme budget. This was
used during the year to meet in-year requirements. The Reserve
received a significant boost of £12 million of UNPROFOR reimbursements
during the year. This payment from the UN covered, in part, the
cost of the UK deployment of troops to the mission. Payment was
made on receipt by the UN of a portion of the US arrears to the
organisation. The total sum reflected the agreed division between
the Africa and Global Pools. This was largely used to meet increases
in peace support costs that amounted to £23.4 million. The
largest share of Pool funding (programmes and peacekeeping) in
the past year was directed to Sierra Leone (59 per cent) and the
Great Lakes region (25 per cent).
The peacekeeping budget is set annually on the
basis of forecast commitments for the following financial year.
The costs of peacekeeping can fluctuate significantly in-year.
The original forecast for peacekeeping in the February 2001 was
£52.3 million. During the financial year the forecast fluctuated
significantly because of unexpected increases in the costs of
peace support operations in the DRC (MONUC), Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)
and in Ethiopia/Eritrea (UNMEE). A final peacekeeping forecast
amounting to £75.7 million was agreed in January 2002, for
the Spring Supplementary Estimatesthis represented an increased
commitment of £23.4 million in excess of the original budget.
The increased costs of peacekeeping were met by deploying part
of the reserve from the programmes element of the Pool and use
of the UNPROFOR receipts (mentioned in paragraph 5 above). Current
estimates for peacekeeping costs in 2002-03 are £92 million.
The increased forecast is largely due to projected increases for
peace support operations in the DRC.
The Africa Pool is managed by a Ministerial
sub-Committee of the Cabinet Office, chaired by the Secretary
of State for International Development. The Pool's remit was defined
in the "Cross-Cutting Review of Conflict Prevention"
(2000) to include all activities that are principally aimed
to prevent and reduce conflict, and where a joint approach
between the three departments would add value. The remit specifically
excludes activities that indirectly contribute to conflict preventions
such as human rights work, election monitoring, humanitarian and
governance work (which are covered by individual Departments).
The Pool is operated by a core secretariat of
officials drawn from DFID, FCO, MOD, Cabinet Office and HMT. The
Pooled arrangements aim to deliver on the specific Public Sector
Agreement (PSA) target, set for all three spending Departments
(DFID, FCO and MOD), of:
"Improved effectiveness of the UK contribution
to conflict prevention and management as demonstrated by a reduction
in the number of people whose lives are affected by violent conflict
and a reduction in potential sources of future conflict, where
the UK can make a significant contribution."
In 2001-02 Departments agreed a set of common
management procedures to monitor progress, evaluate activities
and deal with new proposals in-year, all of which has contributed
to creating flexible and effective working arrangements.
Over the next two years the Pool will reduce
spending on low priority commitments that existed prior to April
2001. This will enable resources to be deployed more strategically
to implement the UK strategies. Departments are also actively
examining ways of enhancing synergy between both Pools (sub-Saharan
Africa and Rest of the World). For example on areas such as strengthening
the UN's conflict prevention capacity, security sector reform,
and preventing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Overall, in its first year of operation the
Africa Pool has fostered a more co-ordinated and potentially more
cost-effective way for HMG to contribute to tackling conflict
in Africa. The Pooled arrangements have helped to reduce transaction
costs, increase cooperation between Departments and develop a
more strategic UK approach to conflict prevention/reduction and
peace support in Africa. We will undertake to keep you informed
of progress in the next year.
I am copying this letter to Tony Baldry MP,
Bruce George MP, Martin O'Neill MP, Baroness AMOS (FCO), Adam
Ingram (MOD), Paul Boateng, and Sir Richard Wilson.
21 May 2002