Agenda item


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       Members will be aware of the development of Peace Plus, which is a new cross-border programme that will contribute to a more prosperous and stable society in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland. It will succeed of both the current 2014 -2020 PEACEIV and INTERREG VA Programmes.


1.2       The Council provided a formal response in February 2020 to the consultation on the Peace Plus policy objectives and the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) is currently consulting further on the content and administrative arrangements for the future Peace Plus programme.


1.1            The purpose of this report is to submit for the Committee’s consideration the draft Council response to the current consultation being undertaken by SEUPB on the Peace Plus Programme 2021 – 2027.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to consider/approve:


-       The draft consultation response; and


-       The draft cover letter providing further information to SEUPB on the opportunities for closer alignment of the Peace Plus Programme with Council and Belfast Agenda strategic ambitions.


3.0       Main Report




3.1       SEUPB has recently opened the public consultation phase of the PEACE PLUS Programme (value €1 billion) to seek views on the content and administrative arrangements of the overall PEACE PLUS Programme. The public consultation document published by SEUPB can be accessed here


3.2       The public consultation opened on 10th March 2021 and the deadline for responses is 12th May 2021.  The consultation document has been prepared on the basis of extensive cross Council engagement to ensure the collective strategic ambitions of the Council and the Belfast Agenda have been reflected. 


3.3       The PEACE PLUS Programme policy objectives were developed through extensive stakeholder engagement, which took place between December 2019 and February 2020. A total of 16 public events were held across the programme area, with over 1,000 people in attendance. Over 300 survey responses were submitted.  


3.4       The overall Peace Plus Programme strategic policy objectives are summarised below (indicative regional budgets have been provided against each theme for information:


Theme 1 – Building Peaceful and Thriving Communities (210m)

Theme 2 – Delivering Economic Regeneration and Transformation (143m)

Theme 3 – Empowering and Investing in Our Young People (110m)

Theme 4 – Healthy and Inclusive Communities (155m)

Theme 5 – Supporting a Sustainable and Better Connected Futures (265m)

Theme 6 – Building and Embedding Partnership and Collaboration (47m)


3.5       Belfast City Council’s history of excellence in delivery of peace and reconciliation programmes, as well as economic and regional development programmes means that the council is uniquely placed to continue to successfully deliver both capital and revenue projects for citizens of Belfast and the region under this forthcoming Peace Plus Programme.


3.6       This is further amplified with the opportunities provided by Community Planning to bring statutory partners and communities together as we collectively work towards those ambitions, and in particular, the next stage of developing funding proposals.


3.7       The draft consultation response has been circulated for Members’ consideration.


3.8       Given the restrictive nature of the consultation document prepared by SEUPB (500 character limit at each section), a draft cover letter is also provided for Members consideration.  This is to ensure Council is able to ensure all the strategic opportunities for alignment of the Peace Plus Programme with the Council and Belfast Agenda ambitions are clearly articulated to SEUPB, to influence their future direction.


3.9       For Members information, PEACE PLUS is a cross-border programme. However, single jurisdiction partnerships (i.e. project partnerships involving organisations from a single country) will continue to be eligible for funding provided they meet the recognised objectives. Projects addressing wider economic and territorial development challenges (as previously funded under INTERREG VA) will need to involve cross-border partnerships and beneficiaries.


            Financial and Resource Implications


3.10     As detailed in the report. 


            This funding programme will be administered and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and a competitive application process will operate to access funding. 



            Equality or Good Relations Implications/

            Rural Needs Assessment


3.11     Equality, Good Relations implications and rural needs have been considered at a programme level by SEUPB as the responsible body.  Detail is provided in Part 5, Appendix 1, of the Public Consultation document”


            After discussion, the Committee approved the draft cover letter and Council response accompanying the report and noted that Political Parties would in due course be briefed on potential Peace Plus projects. 


Supporting documents: