One of the unique features of the Fund is that it is an independent international organisation established by the British and Irish governments. The international dimension in terms of our funding source, diplomatic support and accountability helped to convince the local community that the Fund was not a direct government intervention. The international dimension also enabled the Fund to gain direct involvement in a wide range of projects and programmes which the two sovereign governments had found it difficult to impact upon – and helped to overcome any accusations of unfair treatment . In so doing, the Fund pioneered many ground breaking techniques to secure buy-in from all sections of the community – to advance the cause of peace building, economic and social advance, and reconciliation.
The independence of the Board has been vitally important in ensuring that the choice of interventions has been based on an objective view of perceived need and potential impact and has been an important aspect in building trust at community level.
Because of the special problems in Northern Ireland, approximately ¾ of the resources of the Fund have been allocated to projects in the six counties in Northern Ireland. However, it is important to remember that many projects have a cross-border and cross-community dimension.
In the early years, the Fund concentrated on achieving its objectives of economic regeneration and reconciliation mainly through economic projects. Building economic stability in disadvantaged areas struggling to attract investment was a key priority for the Fund – to help build community confidence and provide opportunities for people to work together for a peaceful and prosperous future. Throughout all of this work the Fund sought to foster cross-border and cross-community relationships, encouraging individuals and communities to learn and work together.
The strategy has been in operation since 2006 and covers the period 2006 to 2010 and a copy of the strategy is available for delegates. The strategy aimed to make the Fund more flexible and responsive to the evolving and complex environment in which it worked while retaining a strong focus on peace building and reconciliation. The strategy enabled the Fund to target the areas of greatest need to ensure that interventions were meaningful and sustainable. A recent external review of the Fund’s activities was very complimentary of the impacts it achieved via the 2006 to 2010 strategy.
1. Building Foundations initiatives are active in the most marginalised communities of Northern Ireland and the southern border counties, working to promote peace and reconciliation and create conditions for a long-term shared future. Each of the initiatives addresses key issues of deprivation, social cohesion and community leadership in order to help make community-led change possible and sustainable. 2. Building Bridges initiatives operate in two main areas: Youth Programmes focus on creating cross-community and cross-border opportunities for young people; and the Community Bridges Programme supports innovative community projects which seek to address difference and division and promote reconciliation and mutual understanding between all sections of the community – particularly in interface areas. 3. Building Integration supports pioneering initiatives in education, housing and with community groups which create sustainable opportunities for sharing. This area of activity aims to promote integration and underpin peace building and reconciliation initiatives which will continue to have a positive impact long after the Fund ceases to exist. 4. Leaving a Legacy, these initiatives are typically over £1million in value which together with their location, symbolism and potential impact will continue to sustain peace building and reconciliation long after the Fund ceases to exist. Another part of this area of activity is to share with an international audience the lessons and experiences of the Fund during its 25 years in existence – therefore, I very much welcome today’s opportunity to speak to you.
The Fund has been very successful in reaching out and giving help to those who needed it most – many examples of which can be found in the publication; “A Fund of Goodwill”. The book explores the work of the Fund from the perspective of those most affected by it, telling the stories of the people on the ground who have taken the brave and often dangerous first steps towards peace. A copy of the book is available for delegates.
A number of external reviews have been undertaken throughout the lifetime of the Fund and one which was conducted recently will feature in my after dinner speech tonight.
The Effective Peace Building booklet describes the most significant features of the Fund for the purpose of enabling the Fund’s operational model to be shared with other regions of the world emerging from conflict. It is not suggested that the Fund is the sole model for success but rather that it has some unique elements that could be applied successfully in other regions. A copy of the publication is available for delegates.
Reconciliation in Ireland has been a slow process, extending over decades rather than years and the International Fund for Ireland was never conceived as a permanent funding mechanism. We recognise that the current levels of funding cannot be continued indefinitely. While enormous progress has taken place to transform our local communities to create a much more peaceful society, it would be wrong to ignore the high levels of segregation that continue to exist – particularly in terms of education and housing. Many of our local communities continue to suffer from economic and social deprivation and while these conditions prevail there remains a continued risk of instability and violence. If additional funding becomes available, it is towards those communities in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties that are suffering the greatest economic and social deprivation, where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building and limited benefits from the peace process and there remains a continued risk of instability and violence that we would direct the funding.
I hope you find the panel discussions and workshop sessions both informative and enjoyable and gives you the opportunity to hear and learn much more about the detail of our work. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting some of you later today and at tonight’s gala dinner.
International Fund For Ireland <ul><li>FORUM FOR CITIES IN TRANSITION </li></ul><ul><li>LONDONDERRY/DERRY </li></ul><ul><li>25 MAY 2011 </li></ul>
International Fund For Ireland <ul><li>Chairman </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Denis Rooney CBE </li></ul>
Background to the Fund <ul><li>1986 Anglo Irish Agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Fund Established by International Treaty </li></ul><ul><li>Donor Countries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Zealand </li></ul></ul>
Board of the Fund <ul><li>Appointed jointly by the governments of Britain and Ireland. </li></ul>
Objectives of the Fund <ul><li>Article 2 </li></ul><ul><li>“ The objectives of the Fund are to promote economic and social advance and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland.” </li></ul><ul><li>Article 3 </li></ul><ul><li>“ In the voluntary sphere, special emphasis shall be placed on supporting economic and social projects sponsored by men and women of goodwill throughout Ireland who are engaged in the task of communal reconciliation.” </li></ul>
The Fund’s Early Work <ul><li>Encouraging Entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Developing Workspace </li></ul><ul><li>Developing Infrastructure for Tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing Cross-border Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Regenerating Urban Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting Agriculture & Fisheries </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting Science & Technology Research and Development </li></ul>
Sharing this Space Strategic Framework 2006-2010 <ul><li>Building Foundations </li></ul><ul><li>Building Bridges </li></ul><ul><li>Building Integration </li></ul><ul><li>Leaving a Legacy </li></ul>
Programme Characteristics <ul><li>A clear focus on reconciliation as the over riding objective. </li></ul><ul><li>An independent and credible approach with strong international backing. </li></ul><ul><li>A cross-community, cross-border approach. </li></ul><ul><li>A willingness to take risks on behalf of the communities we work with. </li></ul>
Programme Characteristics Contd <ul><li>Early support for community initiatives through ‘first money on the table’. </li></ul><ul><li>Co-operation with other funders and leveraging of funds from other sources. </li></ul><ul><li>A willingness to innovate and to break new ground in support of reconciliation. </li></ul><ul><li>A responsive approach to donor priorities. </li></ul>
Impacts and Achievements <ul><li>Over £668m/€838 investment across the island of Ireland. </li></ul><ul><li>Our investment has resulted in leverage of additional funding on a ratio of approximately 1:2. </li></ul><ul><li>More than 35,000 young people have participated in programmes focusing in part in reconciliation. </li></ul>
Impacts and Achievements up to September 2010 Contd <ul><li>Over 6,000 projects have been offered support across the Fund’s programmes. </li></ul><ul><li>Around 21% of projects are cross-border. </li></ul><ul><li>The Fund has helped to create more than 55,000 jobs. </li></ul>