The importance of supporting local actors in assuming ownership and leadership in development and peacebuilding processes affecting their own communities is widely acknowledged in international policy discourses. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the notion of ‘local resilience’ has emerged as one of the central elements of the United Nations’ (UN) building forward better agenda: to create more inclusive and resilient societies, post-pandemic recovery must be designed and led by local actors.I
There has also been growing recognition by the multilateral system, including international organisations, donors, and national governments, of the importance of local institutions and their networks as critical agents in peacebuilding and sustaining peace at the country level. However, the international donor community, including bilateral donor governments and multilateral funding facilities, continues to struggle with identifying ways to directly engage with and support local peacebuilders. This is particularly true in terms of finding the best way for local actors to lead and determine priorities and approaches to funding strategy, programming and implementation.
In the extensive discourse on this topic the focus has remained on how to increase the quantity, predictability and leveraging of potential funding, rather than on how to improve the quality of this funding, including the consideration of who receives financial resources.II
Pooled funding mechanisms, including Multi-Partner Trust Funds (MPTF) can be catalytic in funding local peacebuilders by increasing local agency, ownership, and leadership for sustaining peace at the country level. Pooled funds have also been recognised as a transformative instrument to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 as envisaged in the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda.III
Against this backdrop, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) brought together a select group of development partner representatives, pooled fund managers and Member States in early 2022 to explore how pooled funding mechanisms can deliver on their potential to promote local agency for peace. This paper aims to capture the constraints and opportunities that were identified within these existing funding mechanisms in effectively resourcing locally led peacebuilding efforts.