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PBF: Preventing a Relapse Into Violent Conflict

The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is currently supporting more than two hundred projects in 25 countries by delivering fast, flexible and relevant funding. Countries on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) receive funding. Countries that are not on the PBC agenda may also receive funding, following a declaration of eligibility by the Secretary-General. 

The PBF allocates money through two funding facilities, the Immediate Response Facility (IRF) and the Peacebuilding Recovery Facility (PRF). Both facilities fund initiatives that respond to one or more of the following four criteria:

  • Respond to imminent threats to the peace process and initiatives that support peace agreements and political dialogue
  • Build or strengthen national capacities to promote coexistence and peaceful resolution of conflict
  • Stimulate economic revitalization to general peace dividends
  • Re-establish essential administrative services

The PBF is managed, on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General, by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, supported by the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO). The UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) is the PBF fund administrator.

The PBF relies upon voluntary contributions from Member States, organizations and individuals.

The PBF was established in 2006, through General Assembly Resolution A/60/180 and the Security Council Resolution S/RES/1645-2005. The PBF’s Guidelines were revised in 2009 to ensure it can respond to real needs and make a difference in the lives of people in countries emerging from conflict.

 

PBF Mission

Following a request from the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Secretary-General established a Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for post-conflict peacebuilding initiatives in October 2006. The PBF constitutes an essential component of the enhanced UN architecture to provide for a more sustained engagement in support of countries emerging from conflict and will support peacebuilding activities which directly contribute to post-conflict stabilization and strengthen the capacity of Governments, national/local institutions and transitional or other relevant authorities.

The PBF is a global fund designed to support several country situations simultaneously and therefore combines the scope of a global fund with the country-specific focus of a Multi-Partner Trust Fund. Its basic architecture is based upon a two-tier decision-making process, involving a central allocation of funding to the countries eligible for PBF support and, at the country level, a joint review by the Government and the ranking UN representative in the country to disburse funds against agreed-upon programme and project activities.

The PBF addresses immediate needs in countries emerging from conflict at a time when sufficient resources are not available from other funding mechanisms and will support interventions of direct and immediate relevance to the peacebuilding process and contribute towards addressing critical gaps in that process. It focuses on delivering services in the very early stages of a peacebuilding process, before donor conferences are organized and such funding mechanisms as country-specific Multi-Partner Trust Funds have been set up.

Additionally, there may be specific instances in which the PBF could meaningfully extend support to countries at a more advanced stage of their peacebuilding process, in particular to countries for which no Multi-Partner Trust Fund has been established and to countries with an operational Multi-Partner Trust Fund but in which critical peacebuilding interventions remain under funded or in which the need for such interventions arises unexpectedly. The use of PBF resources is meant to catalyze and encourage longer term engagements by development agencies and bilateral donors.

 

PBF Governance

The General Assembly (Resolution A/60/180) and the Security Council (Resolution S/RES/1645-2005) requested the Secretary-General to establish a multi-year standing PBF for post-conflict peacebuilding. Arrangements for the establishment of the PBF were set out in the Secretary-General’s report “Arrangements for Establishing the Peacebuilding Fund” to the General Assembly Sixtieth Session. The PBF’s Terms of Reference, annexed to the Secretary General’s report, identify the governance arrangements for the PBF as follows:

The United Nations General Assembly
The General Assembly guides the operations of the PBF. On the basis of an annual analytical report submitted by the Secretary-General and reflecting the lessons learned by the Peacebuilding Commission, the General Assembly may also offer overall policy guidance on the use of the PBF.

The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
The Peacebuilding Commission supports the development of integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and provides strategic advice in relation to countries under its review. It may also offer overall policy guidance on the use of the PBF. The Secretary-General keeps the PBC informed of the activities financed by the PBF and lessons learned in that regard.

The PBF Advisory Group
The Secretary-General appoints an independent Advisory Group to provide advice and oversight on the speed and appropriateness of the fund allocations and to examine performance and financial reports. On the basis of nominations from Member States, the Secretary-General appoints to the Advisory Group up to 10 eminent personalities, selected on the basis of their peacebuilding experience, from all regions, including countries contributing to the PBF. Members will be appointed for a two-year period and the Advisory Group will meet at least twice a year.

The Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)
Under the authority of the Secretary-General, the Head of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) is responsible for the overall management of the PBF, including setting the direction and guiding the use of PBF resources and monitoring and reporting on PBF activities. In consultation with the Senior Policy Group, the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Peacebuilding Support reviews proposals submitted by the in-country Senior UN Representative for considerations of country eligibility, IRF projects, and PRF priority plans. Once a priority plan has been approved, the Head of the PBSO determines the overall funding envelope for the country on the basis of available balances and an indicative costing of the priority plan, and delegates authority to a country-level Joint Steering Committee to manage the implementation of the plan.

The UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office)
The UNDP MPTF Office has been appointed to serve as the Administrative Agent of the PBF and is responsible for the receipt of donor contributions, the transfer of funds to Recipient UN Organizations (based on approvals by the appropriate governing body), the consolidation of narrative and financial reports and the submission of these to PBSO and donors to the PBF. The MPTF Office administers the PBF in accordance with its regulations, rules, directives and procedures. A Memorandum of Understanding to determine fiduciary responsibility, programming modalities at the country level and related reporting requirements was signed between the UN PBSO and UNDP MPTF Office on 28 November 2006.

 

Decision-Making Process

The PBF) is based on a two-tier decision-making process, involving a central allocation of funding to the countries eligible for PBF support and, at the country level, a joint review by the Government and the United Nations to disburse funds against agreed-upon priorities.

For detailed information on the key features, eligibility, strategic allocation of funds and approval process under each of the two PBF Facilities, see below sections on the Peacebuilding & Recovery Facility and the Immediate Response Facility.

 

Peacebuilding & Recovery Facility (PRF)

The PBF Peacebuilding & Recovery Facility (PRF) supports a structured peacebuilding process, driven by national actors based on a joint analysis of needs with the international community. PBSO establishes a country allocation based on an approved PBF Priority Plan and delegates project approval authority to a Joint Steering Committee co-chaired by the national government and the UN.

Applying for Assistance from the Peacebuilding & Recovery Facility (PRF)

Key features of the PRF:

  • Driven by effective UN/Government partnership and stakeholder engagement in the management of PBF resources at the country level (the “Joint Steering Committee” – JSC).
  • Decentralized decision-making: programme-based allocation based on joint UN/Government prioritization of peacebuilding needs (the “Priority Plan”); project review and approval delegated to the country-level JSC.
  • PBF funds are disbursed to Recipient UN Organizations who implement projects together with national or locally-based Implementing Partners.

Country Eligibility:

  • Countries emerging from conflict or at risk of (re)lapsing into conflict (PBSO may refer to renowned public sources and publications to assess country fragility, including those produced by the UN)
  • Countries on the agenda of the PBC
  • Country eligibility for the PRF is determined by the Secretary-General, based on a recommendation from the ASG/PBSO

The Priority Plan: (see Priority Plan Template)

  • A concise document that draws from available needs assessments and existing frameworks e.g. UNDAF, PRS, PCNA/TRF, ISF, etc. that explicitly address peacebuilding needs.
  • Results-based, and focused on objectives that have a direct and immediate relevance to peacebuilding within one or more of the four Priority Areas of the PBF (see PBF Results Framework)

The Joint Steering Committee (JSC):  (See JSC Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure)

  • Brings together key stakeholders to guide the PBF process
  • Responsible for planning, approving and monitoring the use of PBF resources at the country level
  • Advocates for the broader peacebuilding agenda

Approval Process:

  • The Senior UN Representative submits eligibility request to ASG/PBSO for onward consideration by the Secretary General
  • The Senior UN Representative and Government submit the Priority Plan to ASG/PBSO
  • The ASG/PBSO reviews the Priority Plan in consultation with the UN Contact Group on Peacebuilding (or delegated body), approves priority plan and establishes a funding envelope
  • The JSC calls for, reviews, approves and monitors projects within the framework of the Priority Plan
  • Following the approval of the JSC, project documents are signed by the Co-Chairs of the JSC, Recipient UN Organization(s), and implementing partners, and submitted to the MPTF Office.
  • Upon receipt of a fully-signed project document and submission form, the UNDP MPTF Office transfers the approved amount to the applicable Recipient UN Organization(s).

 

Immediate Response Facility (IRF)

The PBF Immediate Response Facility (IRF) is designed to jumpstart immediate peacebuilding and recovery needs. It is a flexible and fast funding tool for single or multiple projects. Projects submitted by the Senior UN Representative that meet the criteria receive funding within three weeks.

Applying for Assistance from the Immediate Response Facility (IRF)

Key features of the IRF:

  • Rapid and agile response facility that provides funds for immediate peacebuilding and recovery needs.
  • Project-based allocations, approved by the ASG/PBSO.
  • Funding is disbursed to Recipient UN Organizations who implement projects together with national or locally-based Implementing Partners.

Which countries are eligible for IRF?

  • Countries emerging from conflict or at risk of (re)lapsing into conflict – PBSO may refer to renowned public sources and publications to assess country fragility, including those produced by the UN.
  • Countries already declared eligible for the PBF.
  • Countries on the agenda of the PBC.
  • Country eligibility for the IRF is determined by the Secretary-General, based on a recommendation from the ASG/PBSO (for single projects with a value less than $3,000,000 a formal declaration from the SG is not required).

Requirements: 

  • Projects should have a maximum duration of 12 months.
  • Projects must be results-driven, using the PBF results framework as guidance.
  • Project portfolios (multiple projects) must be needs-based: i.e. drawn from an ISF or immediate action plan that explicitly addresses peacebuilding needs. The total value of the projects submitted for IRF funding is typically limited to $US 15,000,000 OR 10% of the total funding requested in the Action Plan.
  • Stand-alone projects must be targeted at preventing (re)lapse into conflict and/or promote sustained engagement in peacebuilding. Funding from the IRF for individual projects is limited to a maximum of $US 3,000,000.

Approval Process:

  • The Senior UN Representative submits high-priority project or project portfolio in consultation with national authorities using applicable “project document template”, to ASG/PBSO.
  • ASG/PBSO seeks relevant technical advice, reviews projects in consultation with UN Senior Peacebuilding Group (or delegated body) and approves projects.
  • Individual project documents are signed by PBSO, the Recipient UN Organization(s) and national authorities.
  • Upon receipt of a fully-signed project document and submission form, the MPTF Office transfers the approved amount to the applicable Recipient UN Organization(s).
Recent Documents

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Key Figures
Funding Status
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Total as of
Values in US$
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Funds with Administrative Agent
Deposits 595,437,985  
Interest and Investment Income (from Fund) + 17,267,279  
Interest (from Participating Organizations) + 3,002,496  
Total source of funds   615,707,761
Transferred to Participating Organizations 504,398,681  
Refunds from Participating Organizations - 23,478,085  
Administrative Agent Fee + 5,953,066  
Direct Cost + 17,623,053  
Bank Charges + 29,228  
Total use of funds   - 504,525,943
Balance with Administrative Agent   111,181,818
As a percentage of deposits   18.7%
Funds with Participating Organizations
Transferred to Participating Organizations 504,398,681  
Total resources   504,398,681
Participating Organizations' Expenditure 339,096,166  
Refunds from Participating Organizations + 23,478,085  
Total expenses   - 362,574,251
Balance with Participating Organizations   141,824,430
As a percentage of transfers   28.1%
Total Balance of Funds   253,006,248
As a percentage of deposits   42.5%
Delivery Analysis
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Contacts

For Policy and Programme Issues

Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY 10017, USA; Fax: +1 917 367 9330;

Website: http://www.un.org/en/peacebuilding/pbso/

  • Ms Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Assistant Secretary General, Peacebuilding Support (PBSO), E-mail: cheng-hopkins@un.org 
  • Mr Brian Williams, Chief, Financing for Peacebuilding Branch (PBSO), E-mail: williamsbj@un.org

 

For Fund Administrative Agent Issues

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau of Management, United Nations Development Programme; Fax: +1 212 906 6990 

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