The PEACE II Programme in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties : A ‘Distinctive’ Development Programme?
This paper evaluates the usefulness of the ‘distinctiveness criteria’ in directing European Union structural funds in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland towards peacebuilding goals. While the criteria are judged to have successfully added a peacebuilding framework to the programme, a number of weaknesses, both operational and conceptual, are found. The article argues that their impact would be sharpened by a stronger focus on evaluation at the micro and meso levels, as well as a more thoughtful qualitative application of the criteria that links actions to the challenges of peacebuilding. The relevance of the conclusions to other areas in conflict is briefly considered.