The Peacebuilding Fund is the UN system’s financing tool of first resort to help sustain peace in fragile nations. By being able to provide critical support in a timely, flexible and risk-tolerant fashion, the Fund can step in at opportune moments and provide the impetus for other donors to follow suit.

Through a combination of strengths, the Fund fills a niche:

  • Its involvement is political: it works on behalf of the Secretary-General;
  • It is nimble and fast: it can decide about and dispense funds quickly if necessary;
  • It is flexible: it can rapidly adjust its funding to an urgent need;
  • It is willing to take risks: it goes where other funds won’t (yet) go;
  • It is a trailblazer: as a first donor, it mobilizes other resources, often larger funds;
  • It builds coherence: it spreads its funding widely over more than 20 UN and other entities and makes them work together;
  • It is broadly supported: more than 50 member states have contributed to it;
  • It is inclusive: its funding exceeds the standards for aid to women and youth;
  • It works across borders: whereas most funds can only fund within a country.

“Thanks to the economic activities of the project, things are as before: PBF has brought peace back.“

Arby Faiousy, representative of 11 women associations in Mali

“The funding continues to be critical to our efforts”

UNICEF Myanmar

The Fund builds on the political momentum in the countries where it invests, making the most of the opportunity to deliver results beyond its relatively small contributions by causing a triple ripple effect:

Locally, it enhances effectiveness because of synergies among various activities;

Nationally, its reach extends beyond the direct beneficiaries to bring about a more stable society;

Internationally, its initial involvement often opens the door for larger donors to follow and take over.

The PBF’s support varies by country, depending on the local situation and how its funding can be most effective in preventing conflict. Projects have included disarming combatants and reintegrating them into civilian society; establishing a secure environment where the government can re-establish its authority; providing so-called peace dividends to the population, making peace a fruitful alternative to conflict; and creating a basis for peaceful coexistence by promoting trust and unity.

The Fund insists on national ownership of the peacebuilding process and gets involved in countries that demonstrate a commitment to deal with the issues that could lead to violent conflict. It also stresses the importance of involving women and youth as crucial to sustaining peace.

While money is the entry point for the Fund, much of its work consists of providing the guidance to well-coordinated, conflict-sensitive and politically-astute programming and making sure the projects deliver on their goals.

A comprehensive review of the UN’s peacebuilding activities in 2015 and two identical resolutions on peacebuilding in the General Assembly and Security Council in April 2016 praised the role of the Peacebuilding Fund.

The Fund is recognized as playing the critical role for which it was created in 2006, namely filling a gap in existing development aid that didn’t match the need for speed and flexibility at critical moments of transition from war to peace. The resolutions widened the Fund’s role to not only include prevention of relapse of violent conflict, but also sustaining peace in general.

Download the PBF Niche Paper


“The contribution of the PBF was very catalytic. It was working like a little trigger and you need certain resources at a certain point of time to contribute to the peace process, to enhance participation of women in the peace process and that has happened with PBF support.”


Shipra Bose, ‎Senior Gender Advisor at UN Somalia

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