Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Contents

2An overview of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

3.The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) is a pot of money that the Government spends on tackling the causes and effects of conflict and instability in countries of strategic importance to the United Kingdom. The CSSF was launched in April 2015 to deliver a “new, more strategic approach to [the UK’s] work in conflict-affected states”.5

4.The CSSF is intended to deliver a whole-of-government approach to conflict prevention, stabilisation and crisis response.6 The National Security Council (NSC) co-ordinates this whole-of-government approach by agreeing more than 40 regional, country and thematic strategies and allocating funding according to its priorities.7 All Departments and agencies represented on the NSC can access CSSF funding for the delivery of programmes in fragile and conflict-affected states.

5.The CSSF replaced the Conflict Pool. The Conflict Pool had existed since 2001, originally as two separate funds, the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool and the Global Conflict Prevention Pool. These two funds merged in April 2008 to form the Conflict Prevention Pool, which was subsequently renamed the Conflict Pool in 2009.8 Like the CSSF, the Conflict Pool was a cross-departmental fund that supported a range of activities designed to reduce the number of people around the world whose lives are or might be affected by violent conflict. Unlike the CSSF, however, access to Conflict Pool funding was limited to just three Departments, namely the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The NSC had no formal role in setting strategic objectives for the Conflict Pool. We heard that the NSC’s strategic oversight of the CSSF was driven by criticism that the Conflict Pool lacked strategic direction.9

6.The Government has also put in place a series of cross-departmental boards in Whitehall and at Embassies and Consulates that are tasked with delivering the NSC’s vision for the CSSF. A detailed description of these cross-departmental boards, and of the management of CSSF-funded programmes, is available in Appendix 1.

CSSF budget

7.The annual budget for the CSSF is more than £1 billion, totalling £1.033 billion in its first year (2015–16) and £1.127 billion in its second (2016–17).10 The budget will rise to more than £1.3 billion each year by the end of the Spending Review period (2019–20).11 This compares with a budget of £683 million for the Conflict Pool in its final year (2014–15).12

8.Written Ministerial Statements in March 2015 and July 2016 set out the top four lines of the financial settlement for the CSSF in 2015–16 and 2016–17 respectively:

Table 1: CSSF budget allocations in 2015–16 and 2016–17

2015–16

£m

2016–17

£m

Peacekeeping and multilateral

462

385.7

Regional/country strategies

482.8

577.8

Security and defence

75

150

Delivery support including the Stabilisation Unit and National School of Government International

13.2

13.5

Total

1033

1127

Source: HCWS392 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund settlement for 2015–16], 12 March 2015; HCWS123 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund 2015–16 and settlement for 2016–17], 21 July 2016

9.About half of the total budget each year is available for discretionary regional, country and thematic programming.13 The remainder is ring-fenced for predetermined commitments. These include the UK’s assessed contributions to UN and EU peacekeeping operations (under the ‘peacekeeping and multilaterals’ budget line in Table 1) and the UK’s activity in support of Afghanistan’s security sector, as well as a contingency fund for emergencies overseas that require a military response (both under the ‘security and defence’ budget line in Table 1).

10.The FCO, DFID, the MOD, the Home Office, the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the security and intelligence agencies currently all utilise CSSF funding. The FCO has been the primary recipient of CSSF funding during the first two years of the CSSF’s operation. This is because the FCO is responsible for paying the UK’s assessed contributions to the UN and EU for peacekeeping, which have accounted for at least a third of the CSSF’s total budget each year so far. The FCO also delivers a substantial proportion of the regional, country and thematic programmes (under the ‘regional/country strategies’ budget line in Table 1).14

11.As with the Conflict Pool, the CSSF combines Official Development Assistance (ODA) with non-ODA funding, enabling a wider range of responses to conflict and instability overseas.15 In 2016–17, about two-fifths (£484 million) of the CSSF’s total budget of £1.127 billion counts as ODA.16 CSSF spending helps the Government to meet its two targets relating to aid and defence expenditure each year: spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on ODA and spending 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence. We note that £134 million of the CSSF’s £1.127 billion budget in 2016–17 counts towards both Government targets.17 We question whether this double-counting is consistent with the separate objectives of the two targets.


5 HCWS392 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund settlement for 2015–16], 12 March 2015

6 A March 2015 Written Ministerial Statement stated that the CSSF would “draw on the most effective combination of defence, diplomacy, development assistance, and national security assets at Her Majesty’s Government’s disposal”. HCWS392 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund settlement for 2015–16], 12 March 2015

7 HCWS392 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund settlement for 2015–16], 12 March 2015

8 Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), “Evaluation of the Inter-Departmental Conflict Pool”, Report 12, July 2012, p. 2

9 National Audit Office (NAO), Review of the Conflict Pool”, March 2012; ICAI, “Evaluation of the Inter-Departmental Conflict Pool”, Report 12, July 2012, pp 6–7

10 HCWS392 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund settlement for 2015–16], 12 March 2015; HCWS123 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund 2015–16 and settlement for 2016–17], 21 July 2016

11 HCWS123 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund 2015–16 and settlement for 2016–17], 21 July 2016

12 HM Government (CSS0019) para 47

13 Regional, country and thematic programmes are funded under the ‘Regional/country strategies’ budget line in Table 1.

14 HCWS392 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund settlement for 2015–16], 12 March 2015; HCWS123 [on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund 2015–16 and settlement for 2016–17], 21 July 2016; Letter of 30 September 2015, from the FCO to the Foreign Affairs Committee, on FCO Budget and Capacity

15 The distinction between ODA and non-ODA funding is governed by guidelines set out by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which the UK is a member. To count as ODA, an activity must support the economic development and welfare of a developing country as its main objective. In February 2016, the DAC updated these guidelines in recognition of the detrimental impact that conflict, fragility and insecurity have on efforts to tackle poverty. As a result, more CSSF-funded activities, such as countering violent extremism, can now be counted as ODA. See GOV.UK, “Changes to Official Aid Rules”, 19 February 2016.

16 HM Government (CSS0019) para 5

17 In oral evidence session, the National Security Adviser told us that only £10 million of the CSSF’s £1.127 billion budget in 2016–17 counts towards both Government targets. See Q40 [Sir Mark Lyall Grant]. In January 2017, Gwyn Jenkins, the Deputy National Security Adviser (Conflict, Stability and Defence), sent the Committee an updated figure. See HM Government (CSS0028).




6 February 2017