Peace and Security: Portfolio Overview 2018 - Preventing conflict, sustaining peace and promoting human security

Armed conflicts constitute main obstacles to sustainable development. They create enormous human suffering and make pathways out of poverty more difficult. OECD estimates that without action 80 % of the world’s poorest will be living in contexts affected by conflict and fragility by 2030. Total disbursement to Conflict Prevention, Peace and Security was 983 million Swedish Kronor for 2018. 54 % of all Sida support had peace and conflict as principal or significant objective.


Violent conflicts lead to human suffering in terms of loss of lives, displacement and increased levels of poverty, and for affected societies, the pathways out of poverty are fewer. Sweden’s long-term commitment to human security, peacebuilding and conflict prevention is articulated in the Policy Framework for Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. It identifies Peaceful and inclusive societies as one of eight prioritised thematic areas. The framework establishes that a conflict perspective shall be integrated in all Swedish development cooperation. For Sida and its implementing partners, this direction implies that opportunities to integrate conflict prevention, peace and human security shall be identified and that risks of conflict-insensitive practices shall be mitigated in all operations.

Thematic sub-areas identified by the Policy Framework include support to transparent, inclusive and responsive institutions; resilience against conflict-related crises and capacity for peaceful conflict management; inclusive dialogue and mediation processes; increased participation and influence of women and girls and youth in conflict prevention and peace and state-building processes; and protection of children in armed conflict. Mine action, fight against illegal trade of small arms and light weapons (SALW), security sector reform and transitional justice processes are also prioritised areas for Sweden.

Sida’s development cooperation is increasingly directed towards countries affected by conflict and fragility. Among the seven countries receiving most support from Sida in 2018 five were severely affected by conflict and fragility:

Afghanistan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Palestine. These countries have in common that they both receive considerable long-term development cooperation and humanitarian support from Sida.


The negative trend of high levels of and intensified armed conflicts slightly slowed down in 2018, with the Syria conflict entering into a new phase, Yemen peace talks initiated and peace accords signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

However, the increased complexity of conflicts and diversification of armed actors and regional and international dimensions continued to be a challenge.

Some common challenges in conflict-affected areas, identified by Sida in strategy reports, include high levels of violence against civilians including sexual and gender-based violence, shrinking space for civil society to engage in peacebuilding activities, as well as limited opportunity to engage constructively with the state. Opportunities to contribute to conflict prevention and inclusive peacebuilding are limited.

Nevertheless, Swedish support has contributed to strengthening the local peacebuilding capacity in directly targeted geographical areas and to the implementation of national level peace processes in some cooperation counties.