Peacebuilding Fund Provides Crucial Support, But Needs More Contributions, Annual Report Finds

Politically Speaking
4 min readMar 20, 2024


Despite growing demand for peacebuilding support under the Peacebuilding Fund, voluntary contributions dropped in 2023, the annual report on the instrument found, stressing the need for more adequate, predictable and sustainable financing to ensure the proposals of A New Agenda for Peace can be implemented.

On the border between Mali and Mauritania, agro-pastoral communities are increasingly facing the effects of the changing climate, with more and more droughts and floods that put their traditional practices at risk. As resources become scarcer and transhumance corridors change, disputes over land management arise, threatening the outbreak of violent conflicts.

In 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) implemented a $3 million project to promote stability in the region. The “Conflict Management and Agro-Pastoral Resilience-building on the Mali-Mauritania Border” initiative allowed to deploy a transhumance tracking tool, establish an early warning system and use village committees to resolve disputes, significantly reducing the number of conflicts.

A project funded by the Peacebuilding Fund helped reduce conflicts among the agro-pastoral communities on the Mali-Mauritania border. Photo: United Nations Peacebuilding

The Peacebuilding Fund (PBF)

This initiative is just one of the many supported by the Peacebuilding Fund, the UN’s leading instrument for investing in prevention and peacebuilding.

Established in 2006, the Fund helps create partnerships with the UN system, national and subnational authorities, civil society organizations, regional organizations and multilateral banks to carry out peacebuilding projects that support cross-border programmes, UN transitions and women and youth empowerment.

For instance, last year the Fund supported civil society organizations as part of an initiative to adopt four departmental action plans in the Lac province in Chad, incorporating the full participation of women in decision-making and conflict management.

In Sudan, a PBF funded project helped alleviate tensions over scarcer resources through water infrastructures and by distributing seeds and productive tools, while in Papua New Guinea, the Fund supported high-level meetings to advance the post-referendum process in support of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The Peacebuilding Fund supported a project to alleviate tensions over scarce resources in Sudan in 2023. Photo: United Nations Peacebuilding

Over its 18 years of operations, the PBF has approved more than $1.9 billion in funding for projects in over 60 countries through voluntary contributions from member states.

But despite its crucial role in financing peacebuilding projects and the growing demand for its support, contributions to the Fund decreased in 2023, with $132 million-worth of contributions well below the $330 million target. This marked a 22 per cent decrease in contributions compared to 2022, according to the PBF annual report, published on 20 March.

Growing needs but shrinking funding

The report shows that while the Fund managed to approve 96 programmes for over $202 million in 36 countries and territories in 2023, it also reached the lowest liquidity level since it was established. Overall, the Fund has only received half of the five-year target of $1.5 billion under the 2020–2024 strategy.

In an effort to provide more adequate, predictable and sustainable financing to the Fund, in December 2023, the General Assembly decided to dedicate to it $50 million from the UN regular budget every year starting from 2025.

Sufficient financing is key to ensure the Fund can continue to support peacebuilding projects, create partnerships and respond to the member states’ needs, which continue to increase as risks to peace and security grow.

“This is a time to redouble, not diminish, peacebuilding efforts,” said Assistant-Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar on 20 March, adding that “This year’s report shows again that peacebuilding works: stronger institutions and inclusive dialogues help break and prevent cycles of violence.”

Funding A New Agenda for Peace

The Fund will be crucial in implementing the recommendations included in A New Agenda for Peace, the Secretary-General’s vision to strengthen multilateral action for peace.

These recommendations are aligned with the PBF’s priorities to support UN transitions, women and youth’s participation and cross-border programmes.

In A New Agenda for Peace, the Secretary-General also calls for more risk-tolerant climate finance investments within the PBF to address the growing security risks linked with climate change. This could ensure more support for climate-exposed communities, like the agro-pastoral communities between Mali and Mauritania.



Politically Speaking

The online magazine of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs