What is the PEACE IV Programme?
The PEACE IV Programme is a unique cross-border initiative, financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. In addition to supporting peace and reconciliation the ERDF also contributes to the promotion of social and economic stability, in particular through actions to promote cohesion between communities.
The first PEACE Programme was agreed in 1995 as a direct result of the EU’s desire to make a positive response to the opportunities presented by developments in the Northern Ireland peace process during 1994. As the peace process has evolved and matured the PEACE Programmes have played an important role in reinforcing progress towards a more peaceful and stable society.
There has been significant progress in the region since the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement (1998) and St Andrews Agreement (2006). However divisions between communities are still very evident with low levels of trust and high levels of residential and social segregation.
Issues around the expression of identity often result in community tensions and increased polarisation. Within this context there still remains a real need for the region to address a number of key issues in order to support the overall peace process. These include more efforts to develop and deepen reconciliation between divided communities; increase tolerance and respect to reduce the levels of sectarianism and racism; promote increased community cohesion; and address the legacy of the past.
The European Parliament passed a resolution in November 2014 on the peace process that underlines the urgent need to encourage further reconciliation and help stimulate greater economic and social development across Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.
What’s different from 2014 – 2020?
In line with the Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission (EC) requires that all of the new 2014-2020 Programmes will focus on a narrow range of activities to ensure that there is sufficient funding available to bring about significant change. Successful applicants are required to demonstrate tangible results and outputs in the delivery of their projects, which must be aligned to the overall objectives, results and outputs of the Programme.