A Review of PEACE III and Considerations for PEACE IV
Contributing to political stability and increased community cohesion, balanced against bureaucratic and strategic headaches, and a series of recommendations for the new PEACE programme are just some of the main issues outlined in this report.
Known as the PEACE programme, it was designed in 1994 as a response by the EU to positive developments in the peace process and set out to reinforce progress towards a peaceful and stable society and to promote reconciliation. The initial programme was followed by further iterations of the programme to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
So how is it working so far?
Between May and July 2012, NICVA in partnership with SIPTU, facilitated a number of roundtable events for the voluntary and community sector, aimed at reviewing successes and failures associated with the operation of the PEACE programme to date and opening a debate to examine the shaping of PEACE IV. Tony Mcaulay also played a key role in the discussion programme.
Discussions centred around three key questions asking for views on the successes, challenges and future priorities of the programme.
- What do you think have been the successes of the previous PEACE programmes?
- What have been the problems and challenges of the previous PEACE programmes?
- What priorities should a new PEACE programme focus on?
Included among the many Successes of the programme listed were:
- Increased political stability and secure political institutions
- ‘De-sectarianised’ community relations in Northern Ireland through common goals
- Certain areas, small groups and individuals have dramatically benefitted from PEACE funding
- The voluntary and community sector is now filling a gap by delivering a range of services from which the public sector has withdrawn
The main Challenges included:
- Increased, unnecessary, cumbersome and inflexible administrative procedures and bureaucratic delays negatively impacting on the programme’s successful and timely deliverance
- The impact of work being done at project level is being overlooked by SEUPB due to a lack of qualitative feedback
- Core community needs are being missed under a risk averse system which does not encourage innovation
- A lack of strategic leadership and no agreed political strategy for reconciliation. Less a shared future and more an ‘invited society’
- The focus of the original five strands was workable but became too focused on community relations
Discussions on Priorities for PEACE IV included:
- Overhaul and rebrand the overly bureaucratic and administrative systems to de-stigmatise the programme and to become more user-friendly, efficient, accountable and focused on outcomes
- Big Lottery and Joesph Rowntree Foundation are exemplars in terms of funding structure and trust building and would be useful models for SEUPB
- Greater focus on long term and small innovative projects and those benefitting groups most in need
- Political input and leadership required alongside an agreed overarching political strategy for reconciliation (PEACE model)
- More support for smaller organisations to improve their capacity for funding and in the application process.
Read the full report, which gives much greater detail on the priorities for PEACE IV as well as an overview of the programme, feedback from the events and a number of case studies.