Along with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a strong voice in the EU, the UK is a significant financial contributor to UN and EU peacekeeping missions. As a major donor of international development assistance, the UK has also played a leading role in creating more effective development policy for conflict-affected and fragile countries in recent years. This has been through, for example, the Departmental for International Development’s peacebuilding and statebuilding approach, the 2011 Building Stability Overseas Strategy, important contributions to the World Development Report 2011, and the development of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.
As a major exporter of defence and security equipment and influential diplomatic power, the UK also has an important part to play in global arms control, and has been a key player in the process of agreeing an international Arms Trade Treaty in April 2013. However, there is still much to be done to ensure that UK arms transfers do not fuel conflict or human rights abuses abroad.
In addition, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is co-chair of the High Level Panel, appointed by the UN Secretary General, to advise on the global development framework post-2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. The UK has increasingly made the case for the inclusion of conflict issues within the new framework. The High Level Panel report of its recommendations to the Secretary General is part of a larger UN level process that will decide the future framework.
Saferworld works with government officials, parliamentarians, civil society and the media to encourage effective UK policy on conflict and security issues abroad. We aim to use the evidence and experience from our in-country programmes to inform UK decision makers and promote policies and approaches that are responsive to the needs of ordinary people affected by conflict and insecurity, leading to real changes on the ground.
UK Conflict Prevention Policy
Saferworld is actively engaged in the policy debate surrounding the UK’s engagement in conflict affected and fragile states. In particular, we are focused on ensuring that the UK’s joined up approach to conflict prevention in the Building Stability Overseas Strategy fulfils its commitments to promoting a progressive vision of ‘stability’, and takes an upstream conflict prevention approach.
Security and justice
We work to promote UK policy and practice that supports the provision of accountable, responsive and effective security and justice services which meet the security needs of women, men, boys and girls, including as part of aid provision, in conflict-affected areas. We encourage the UK to take an approach to its security and justice programming that takes into account local peoples’ perceptions of security and justice-related issues to constructively inform policy and practice.
Gender, peace and security
Saferworld advocates for the UK to take a gender sensitive approach to its engagement in conflict-affected states, such as through policies like the UK’s National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Women, Peace and Security.
Saferworld is also working with the Foreign Office on the implementation and monitoring of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) which aims to end sexual and gender based violence in conflict. Through a gender sensitive approach to security and justice reform, Saferworld hopes to contribute to the PSVI’s aim of ending the culture of impunity which surrounds sexual violence. Saferworld has been particularly active on promoting this approach as part of the UK’s work on the PSVI during the UK’s 2013 G8 presidency.
Aid and conflict
Saferworld works to promote an approach to trade, aid and diplomacy that is conflict-sensitive. We not only try to ensure that the UK’s engagement in fragile contexts does not inadvertently fuel conflict and instability, but also that it has positive peacebuilding impacts. We also engage with UK-based non-governmental organisations to promote conflict-sensitive ways of running development programmes in conflict-affected and fragile states.
Additionally, Saferworld is advocating for including peace in the framework that will follow the Millennium Development Goals, which are set to expire in 2015. We are working closely with government officials, parliamentarians and civil society to inform this process and ensure that objectives for long-term peace and stability are incorporated into the agenda.
Saferworld engages with UK decision makers to support the development and implementation of responsible arms export controls at UK and EU level. We have also worked for 16 years to encourage the UK to play a leading role in agreeing a strong global Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted on 2 April 2013 by a huge majority in the UN General Assembly.
In light of this achievement, Saferworld will focus its efforts on supporting the UK government throughout the implementation process - promoting rapid sign-up to the treaty and ratification, strong positive interpretation of the text’s provisions, and leadership on supporting implementation in other states party to the treaty.