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Practice and policy lessons from Northern Ireland and the Border Counties
Author: Sandra Buchanan

Transforming Conflict examines lessons learned from the Northern Ireland and Border Counties conflict transformation process through social and economic development and their consequent impacts and implications for practice and policymaking, with a range of functional recommendations produced for other regions emerging from and seeking to transform violent conflict. It provides, for the first time, a comprehensive assessment of the region’s transformation activity, largely amongst grassroots actors, enabled by a number of specific funding programmes, namely the International Fund for Ireland, Peace I and II and INTERREG I, II and IIIA. These programmes have facilitated conflict transformation over more than two decades, presenting a case ripe for lesson sharing. In focusing on the politics of the socioeconomic activities that underpinned the elite negotiations of the peace process, key theoretical transformation concepts are firstly explored, followed by an examination of the social and economic context of Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. The three programmes and their impacts are then assessed before considering what policy lessons can be learned and what recommendations can be made for practice. This is underpinned by a range of semi-structured interviews and the author’s own experience as a project promoter through these programmes in the Border Counties for more than a decade.

Sandra Buchanan

However, such efforts exist and are viable. In the Northern Ireland context, a number of external funding support programmes have concentrated their efforts on supporting the peace process since the mid 1980s through social and economic development, under the guise of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and the EU Peace Programmes (Peace I, II, and III), having contributed billions of euros to the region’s conflict t­ ransformation process. These programmes provide a case study for assessing the efforts of external funding of peace processes as they prompted

in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
Sandra Buchanan

Of the three conflict transformation programmes which Northern Ireland and the Border Counties have benefited from, two, the IFI and the Peace programmes, were specifically tailored for the region. Together with the INTERREG I, II and III(A) programmes, they have directly contributed over €3.25 billion to the region since 1986. While intricate

in Transforming conflict through social and economic development
Tom Gallagher

towards the East appeared an increasing possibility from 1994 onwards. Membership was seen as a largely cost-free undertaking, largely involving the need to downsize and modernise the armed forces. Such technical adjustments were unlikely to really affect the way political power was exercised in Romania. Romania sought to court the USA not by speeding up reform but by responding with alacrity to foreign policy initiatives from Washington. Thus, it was the first former communist state to formally apply to join the Partnership for Peace programme launched in January 1994

in Romania and the European Union
Sandra Buchanan

, particularly that of the Peace programmes, illustrates how ‘there is still a lack of systematic thinking about how social and economic policy can be used to promote peace and a perceptible weakness in theoretical knowledge about the precise links between economic development, social inclusion and reconciliation’. 2 This is despite practitioners believing that social and economic development has a

in Transforming conflict through social and economic development
Abstract only
Europeanisation breakthrough
Boyka Stefanova

implementation instruments under the EU Structural Policy. Europeanisation through policy instruments: formulation of the PEACE Programme The reform of the EC regional policy following the Single European Act (SEA) (1986) provided Northern Ireland with new instruments of conflict resolution assistance. The concept of the regional policy of the 1970s was enriched by an emphasis

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
The economic dynamics
Mary C. Murphy

structural fund 50 Northern Ireland and the European Union transfers to the regions (including those under the Peace programmes) must be in addition to existing government expenditure. The rationale is such that, if EU expenditure is merely a substitute for government spending, then the net benefit of financial transfers is called into question. In the Northern Ireland case, it was persistently claimed that governments did not treat EU funds as additional in this way (Bew and Meehan 1994: 105). More recently, the problem has been noted by the Northern Ireland Assembly

in Northern Ireland and the European Union
Interreg and the cross-border dimension
Giada Lagana

authority networks received additional funding from the Peace Programme to establish a full-time secretariat which would facilitate the development of local partnerships and integrated area plans. This clearly also benefited their Interreg management (interview 7). Following the example of the structure of the Peace Programme, the cross-border networks attempted to reposition themselves in the policy

in Ireland and the European Union
Sandra Buchanan

In referring to the Peace programmes, it has been argued that ‘if nothing else, they have provided a substantial injection of funds at a key point in the transition from war to peace’. 1 While all three tools have supported thousands of projects and initiatives socially and economically, they have also had to bear the brunt of much criticism, like many

in Transforming conflict through social and economic development
Abstract only
Sandra Buchanan

numerous weaknesses associated with the Peace programmes, for example their complexity, excessive bureaucracy, sustainability issues and low uptake from the Protestant community. On an international level this was starkly illustrated by the chaos which afflicted post-conflict Iraq, whereby the US and UK governments made next to no plans for the post-conflict reconstruction of the country when planning their

in Transforming conflict through social and economic development