Trust Funds and Peace Agreements: from a ‘handshake moment’ to meaningful transformation

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  • Author : PSRP Category : global-justice-academy, publications

    Tags : Peace Processes publication

Trust funds can form a crucial part of the success or failure of a peace process. Two new PSRP reports explore the relationship between peace agreements and trust funds, and examine the lessons from the experience of trust funds in Northern Ireland.

Peace Agreements and Trust Funds by PSRP Associate Sean Molloy of Newcastle Law School examines how peace agreements contribute to the ongoing operation of trust funds in transitioning societies.

Translating the sense of optimism generated by the ‘handshake moment’ of a comprehensive peace agreement into real and meaningful transformation requires the availability of capital – financial, human and technical – to help support the implementation of an agreement and the wider peace process. To this end, multi-donor trust funds are often necessary devices to help support the implementation of peace agreement provisions. A ‘Trust Fund’ or ‘Multi Donor Trust Fund’ (MDTF) is a ‘multi-agency funding mechanism, designed to receive contributions from more than one donor (and often also the recipient government), that is held in trust by an appointed administrative agent’ (Walton, 2011: 1). This report examines how peace agreements have addressed or contributed to the establishment or ongoing operation of trust funds.

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Trust Funds in Fragile and Conflict-affected States: Lessons from Northern Ireland by Avila Kilmurray of the Social Change Initiative looks specifically at the role of trust funds in supporting peace in Northern Ireland.

Existing literature on trust funds tends to focus on the national government as the primary stakeholder. This can overlook the importance of considering trust funds from the perspective of local stakeholders, which might foster ‘ownership’ and promote ‘inclusion’. This PSRP Spotlight draws a number of lessons from the experience of Trust Funds in Northern Ireland. Its goal is to help identify salient issues to inform the founding and functioning of funding mechanisms in other conflict-affected settings.

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