The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund’s aid spending

Shortcomings in aid programmes delivered as part of the government’s CSSF are undermining its contribution to building peace, stability and security.

Score: Amber/Red
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 29 March 2018
  3. Type: Performance review
  4. Subject: Fragile states, Peace, security and justice, UK aid funds
  5. Assessment: Amber/Red
  6. Location: Burkina Faso, Chad, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Mali, Niger, Pakistan
  7. Lead commissioner: Richard Gledhill
  8. SDGs covered:Peace, justice and strong institutions


This performance review of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund’s aid spending was published in March 2018, and we awarded an amber-red score. We made six recommendations, and have since published a follow-up review on this report in July 2019, which you can find in the ‘Further scrutiny’ tab.

The intensification of destructive conflict in a number of countries and regions since 2010 is widening the poverty gap between conflict-affected and other developing countries.

By the end of 2016 there were 65.6 million refugees and internally displaced people globally, with 84% of them living in developing countries. The total number of displaced people has increased substantially since 2010, due mainly to a few large-scale conflicts: in 2016, 32% of the global refugee population were Syrians, while refugees from Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan together made up another 32%.

It is estimated that by 2030 nearly half of all people living in extreme poverty will live in conflict-affected places.

Over the past decade, the UK government has significantly increased its aid to fragile and conflict-affected countries and regions. The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) is one of its main instruments for tackling conflict and instability. Accessible to a range of government departments it combines Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA funding to support the implementation of National Security Council (NSC) strategies.

The CSSF was established in April 2015, as the latest in a series of cross-government conflict prevention funds that stretch back to 2001. Its initial annual budget of £1 billion is set to rise to £1.3 billion by 2020-21. This review only looks at the CSSF’s aid programming expenditure, which in its first two years of operation amounted to £353 and £460 million (or 34% and 41% of the CSSF’s total spending).

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions



Published 14 August 2017

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 29 March 2018

Government response

Published 10 May 2018

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 20 June 2018

ICAI follow-up

Published 18 July 2019