Defence, Diplomacy and Development

Addressing the Security-Development Nexus

Implications for Joined-up Government

Ann M. Fitz-Gerald July 27, 2004

Parallel to the ongoing debate on the changing nature of security, there is a similar discussion occurring on the changing nature of overseas development assistance. The two issues work hand in hand, with wider security issues cross-cutting into the development sphere. This interaction is increasingly referred to as “the security-development nexus.” The idea is that, while the purpose of the security community’s actions is to provide a safe and secure environment for people to go about their daily lives, without broader human development, insecurity can re-emerge and quickly spread throughout a region. The recent World Bank-commissioned study Voices of the Poor substantiates this point. Their survey of over 60,000 people from 60 poor countries indicated that the number one priority, even ahead of other basic needs such as food and shelter, was security.

This new awareness has encouraged more joint thinking and collaboration to address this wider debate in bilateral and multilateral government institutions. However, as this paper observes, joined-up structures need to be fortified with adequate capacity at the policy and operational level in order to be able to deal with these issues. Some leading Western donors have developed initiatives to that effect, such as Canada, with its Human Security Program, and the UK, with its Security Sector Reform Strategy. As laudable as these initiatives are, and as much as they may encourage cross-departmental thinking, planning and coordination with regard to overseas assistance, they may be futile on the ground if partner groups are not committed to a similar approach. The US-UK coalition planning and implementation of the military intervention in Iraq is an example of this, but it is also a dangerous precedent.

This article by Ann Fitz-Gerald explores the complexities of merging the security and development agendas and examines the implications for governance. It outlines how Canada has reacted to the debate and evaluates the extent to which Canada’s Development, Defence and Diplomacy, or “3-D,” government process can work based on current structures. Fitz-Gerald describes how thinking along these same lines has progressed in the UK, the US and the Netherlands. She suggests that Canada’s imminent foreign policy review should aim to clearly articulate Canada’s national interests and how these interests should be defended, projected and pursued at home and abroad. She also states that there is a need for all security-development institutions to ensure that coherent policy and workable operational mechanisms are developed. The same exercise should be undertaken jointly with partner countries whose national security interests are broadly similar in specific parts of the world. The ultimate goal, she says, is for all overseas interventions to allow for improved joint planning and joint implementation.


The provision of donor assistance to most postconflict transitional countries repeatedly encounters problems due to conflicting approaches between external and internal actors. Recent interventions in Bosnia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq and in Sierra Leone and other African countries have exposed gaps between the approaches used by Western donor countries and multilateral donor organizations and the expectation, willingness and ability of the recipient countries to implement donor programs in a way that contributes to a sustainable peace. While criticism is often pointed toward uninformed donor approaches that do not fully appreciate local conditions and policy instruments that do not reflect local realities, a degree of blame must also be accepted by certain internal stakeholder groups that impede the process. It is at this level that the greatest challenge remains, as widescale intervention strategies that respond to a country’s security and development issues require local ownership by all sectors. Subscription to this level of ownership, particularly in transitions from authoritarian regimes to democratic governance, can involve a complete transformation in cultural mindsets and indigenous norms. In order to facilitate this transformation, external donors must focus their commitment on tailoring external donor instruments to local realities and identifying only the feasible entry strategies that would encourage compliance and support for others.

This more realistic piecemeal approach to overseas assistance is in no way meant to encourage a bottom-up, as opposed to a top-down, strategy. Selected entry points must always be strategically planned within the context of a more holistic national vision and endstate for the recipient country, even if initial support for all aspects of the strategy cannot be obtained. Canada, together with a number of other Western donor countries, has moved toward establishing more holistic policy instruments that reflect the need to unite security and development issues in postconflict peacebuilding strategies. Indeed, the Canadian government’s “3-D” approach (Defence, Development and Diplomacy) has encouraged closer cooperation among the three main government departments that have an interest in security and development.

These “joined-up” government processes, however, are not without their problems.1 Their success requires that coalition and partner countries, and also recipient countries, have the appropriate policy tools, approaches and mindsets to receive and work harmoniously toward joined-up solutions.

This paper will look at the centrality and the mutual inclusivity of the relationship between security and development in postconflict interventions. The notion of “security sector reform” (SSR) the new policy area that unites security and development in postconflict states, will be described. The study will review how this nexus affects the wider governance agenda and describe how these ideas became the thrust behind the joined-up government concept. The experiences of Canada and some of its allies with joined-up government will be described in order to show the differences between joined-up approaches, as well as how these strategies have been received in-country. The paper will then identify the challenges on the ground faced by donors in implementing these more unified approaches. Finally, it will discuss potential strategies that donor countries could use to garner more cooperation at the local level, cooperation that is crucial to the success of a joined-up strategy.

The Security-Development Nexus

The conceptual debate over the extent to which the international community requires comprehensive solutions to its intervention strategies has advanced at an astonishing rate. The post-Cold War era saw the rise of “new wars” – smaller-scale conflicts that required “second generation peacekeeping,” that is, softer approaches to military monitoring in order to sustain secure and stable environments.2 The debate then intensified in the “complex humanitarian emergency” era, during which the link between disaster, defence and development was loosely articulated. The argument was that, in this era of new wars and internal conflicts, any conventional man-made or natural disaster could immediately become complex if it occurred in a collapsed or failing state whose frail infrastructure could not remedy the damage or cope with the impact. The disaster could then become “humanitarian” in nature if it displaced a significant proportion of the population and rendered them homeless; indeed, the situation would be exacerbated if the displaced groups migrated across borders or went into unstable areas inhabited by lawless gunmen or warlords.

Contributors to this debate maintained that the concept of complex humanitarian emergencies underscored the fact that national militaries contributing to these regions should cooperate with humanitarian agencies such as the UN High Commission for Refugees, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as a myriad of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) including CARE, Médecins sans Frontières, MERLIN and OXFAM and strive to create the humanitarian space necessary for these agencies to undertake their responsibilities.3

While the concept created a new understanding of civil-military cooperation and could be applied in a fairly tranquil environment, it fell short of addressing pre-conflict vulnerabilities. The debate on conflict prevention came to dominate overseas development agendas. The World Bank-commissioned study Voices of the Poor4 demonstrated to the Western world that the first priority for people living in impoverished areas was security: that it ranked just as high, and in many cases higher, than access to both food and shelter.

Thus, security was required for development, and development was required for security. The discourse was described as a circular argument out of which many countries could not escape.5 However, upon further examination, two levels of analysis gave this argument more clarity. At the state level, the provision of state security was necessary for human development, and, at the individual level, local grass-roots security provisions were essential to promote confidence in the state structures. Without the latter, the former would fail to be comprehensive in its quest for human and national development. In some countries, a disproportionate distribution of security has led to regional collapse in the peripheral rural areas, which eventually permeates into the urban centres. This phenomenon has been observed recently in both Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rebel groups far from government capitals eventually have made their way to these centres in a final attempt to overthrow, or be heard by, the central authorities.6

In many developing countries and failing states, security provisions are extended only to elite groups, and the gap widens between the elite and the masses, often triggering a spiral of heightened security measures that favour the governing regime, its extended families and commercial interests. A completely segregated society results in pockets of dissatisfaction that generate demand for alternative sources of security. These alternative security forces then establish power in their regions, and their agendas become highly politicized. They seek support to govern larger regions and overthrow political regimes. This is what occurred in Burma and Argentina, and more recently in Sierra Leone and Haiti. Another frequent outcome is that internal divisions arise within the state, which are demarcated by informal borders dividing two or more ruling systems. Charles Taylor’s rule over “Taylorland,” the northern part of Liberia, which contained all the sources of national wealth, is a good example.

Analysts acknowledge the linkages and interdependencies between security and development. This has encouraged overseas development assistance programs to address these two concepts more comprehensively. Policy that shaped the disbursement of development funds began to formally recognize the need for a wider approach, a development and security “nexus” that would yield more effective and longer-lasting solutions.

Over the past three years, the concept of linkages among conflict, poverty, security and development has become widely accepted by donors and civil society groups. The United Kingdom took the lead in expressing these interrelationships in a more user-friendly way that gave rise to the concept of security sector reform. It was followed soon after by bilateral and multilateral donor organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Economic Development (OECD), the European Union (EU) and by the Dutch government. Other donor countries, such as Canada and the Scandinavian countries, interpreted the union between security and development as another step toward an understanding of the wider human security debate, an expansion of the concept of security sector reform. Within the human context, security affected a country’s economic and social well-being and allowed people to go about their daily lives safely.

Security Sector Reform: Where Security and Development Meet

Security sector reform recognized that states suffered from a lack of democratic and professional security forces – particularly during postconflict transitions – and that they needed to be rebuilt, transformed or reformed immediately following the end of a conflict. These security forces include not only the military but also the police and other law enforcement agencies, the intelligence forces, the judicial system and the legislative functions and oversight mechanisms. “Professionalism” became the key word, which acknowledged that a state could not have well-trained, operationally effective armed forces if it did not have control of them and that, conversely, it was futile to have a well-monitored, financially efficient defence institution if there were no combat-capable armed forces that could serve as a key instrument of foreign policy.

The debate on security sector reform forged ahead without entirely taking account of the diversity of issues it embraced and the multitude of reform agendas spanning different regions. The United Kingdom’s thinking on this concept has advanced most rapidly, due in large part to the efforts of the former secretary of state for international development, Clare Short.7 The fervour she inspired has spread into the national ministries of the UK’s partner countries within the Commonwealth and into the thinking of some traditional UN peacekeeping contributors, who have recognized the human security element of conflict as key to sustainable development. Canada falls into both camps, with a strong commitment to its Human Security Program. This is a $50 million fund (over five years – $10 million a year) designed to promote Canada’s human security agenda under five main themes: protection of civilians, peace support operations, conflict prevention, governance and accountability and public safety. Canada has also contributed to SSR through its support of the PRTs in Afghanistan.8

Because the security sector reform debate spans a range of activities and issues that involve practitioners, policy-makers and civil society – a range of stakeholders that is now wider than that of a multitasked, consolidated peace support operation – the results of evaluations and assessments of its application are completely different in different countries. For example, while defence reform remains high on the agenda for many postconflict and transitioning African countries, maritime security and policing issues supersede defence requirements in many Latin American and Caribbean regions.9 Thus, while there may be different entry points for those providing external assistance, the more holistic frameworks wrapped around these lines of activity must also be appreciated at the earliest stage. Opportunities for membership in Euro-Atlantic structures like NATO and the EU have encouraged the donor community’s efforts to reform the defence sectors of Serbia and Montenegro.10 However, prior to the very recent efforts to implement a sector-wide approach in Belgrade, problems of corruption and capacity in the police force, the interior ministry and the customs and border guard threatened to increase exponentially.11

Without a comprehensive security structure that includes all the relevant sectors, the prospects for development are limited, particularly in postconflict, transitioning states. Donor-funded programs geared to stimulating the growth of micro-enterprises, foreign investment and domestic trade with regional partners will not succeed if there is signficant insecurity. At the grass-roots level, families will not send their children to new donor-funded schools if the route between school and home is unsafe and becomes a passage for gang warfare, human rights abuses, kidnappings and beatings. For such initiatives to succeed, the external and internal security forces (police, military and intelligence forces) must not only adopt an approach that is democratic and accountable but also cooperate closely and coherently with border guards, immigration officers and all the civilian ministries that oversee the activity of the different uniformed groups. It also requires an active civil society capable of and encouraged to provide feedback on their conduct. Since the end of the Balkan wars of the early 1990s, development agencies have invested considerable funds in rebuilding schools and houses. Sadly, many of the dwellings still remain empty due to persistent insecurity, which has altered the ethnic balance in these areas and changed the local demographics.12

Recent events in Haiti have testified to the warnings of many who wrote about the internal conflict between 1994 and 1996: that the vast amounts of money channelled into creating the Haitian National Police Force would be all but wasted without the requisite reform of the justice sector.13 Rule of law encompasses several elements in the wider security sector and, as events in Haiti have demonstrated (more vividly than in most cases), a piecemeal approach toward its effective and efficient functioning is not viable. The failure to equip the new police force with the legislative framework, fully functioning and democratic judicial and penal institutions and the civil oversight that would represent the voice of the people and promote accountability meant the program was destined to fail from the outset. Some of the many consequences of this flawed approach include corruption in the court and prison systems and systematic recriminations levelled at members of the police force who carried out arrests. As a result, the police force remained inside its stations and had minimal impact at the street level.14 Indeed, the inability of the Dominican Republic to seal off the massive flows of small arms penetrating the border15 underscored the importance of including customs, immigration and border guard institutions in the wider reform of Haiti’s security sector.

At the same time, development programs attempting to rebuild houses for those internally displaced persons, re-seed and cultivate potential areas of arable land and train teachers in the primary and secondary school systems, for example, were being undermined by the high levels of insecurity at the street level. For this reason, it was not surprising when, in early 2004, rebel groups spoke out against Jean Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas Family Party and demanded that it be removed from power. While months have now passed since the ousting of the regime and the exile of its leader, large questions still remain as to whether Haiti will ever receive the international commitment required for it to move toward a self-sustaining, secure and stable environment.16

In light of these failures, external intervention and overseas assistance in postconflict phases requires a holistic, comprehensive strategy over a realistic timeframe. Because of the leading role the US played in the post-1996 Haiti strategy – which predominantly featured postconflict peacebuilding components – there was reduced donor interest in and commitment to a much longer-term strategy. Scholars familiar with the history of Haiti and Sierra Leone will no doubt be concerned with the recent suggestion that the UK government was going to downsize its military contribution in those countries. Thankfully, a wider approach was taken in Sierra Leone, and existing regional capacity through organizations like the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) encouraged significant regional interest in stability and economic development. But funds are still desperately needed, and transitions that support less emphasis on a much improved security situation and more emphasis on development must be guaranteed. Such was not the case in Haiti, where conflict resolution strategies were arguably accelerated by a combination of the powerful and poignant images transmitted by the international media and the forced migration issue, which threatened American borders. As a result, little interest and thought was given to Haiti’s future as a democratic and economically viable player in the Caribbean community.

Approaches Taken by External Actors

Forecasting and analysis and defining feasible entry points for security sector reform are carried out at the operational level. Policy-makers and practitioners contribute to this level of analysis. In addition, however, there are the indigenous groups and local constituencies, who must be prepared to lead such reform and reconstruction programs with a view to sustained democratization and professionalism. Situated above these operational tasks are the macro-strategic-level issues that shape the entire national framework of the beneficiary country and, therefore, the policies of those countries providing foreign assistance.

Elevating the analysis to the strategic level provides more clarity with regard to the relationship between security and development and the relationship both elements have with the overall governance agenda. Both security and development are enablers for a country’s foreign and domestic policy agendas. These policy agendas are based on the environment in which a country exists and how it prioritizes its response to this environment. While strategic environments change, a county’s national interests and core values tend not to change, except perhaps over generations.

This important observation should influence the approaches of donors and other external actors seeking to provide assistance to a given country. Too often, templates that correspond to Western national interests and core values underpin external assistance programs. While it is beyond the scope of this paper to provide examples of how different donor interpretations of a beneficiary country’s agenda have adversely effected the delivery of assistance to the region, the use of international peacekeeping forces as a popular instrument to respond to security-development problems will be briefly discussed.

During the post-Cold War peacekeeping era, when virtually all peace-keeping interventions in failed states involved much more robust activity than provided for by the traditional concept of peacekeeping, the role of the peace-keeping forces was rarely linked to a longer-term sustainable development agenda and instead was a policy instrument designed to respond to quick fixes. There are undoubtedly situations, such as severe human rights abuses in collapsed states that lack any capacity to halt these problems, where the expeditious deployment of troops, perhaps without putting significant thought into longer-term strategies, is required. However, in most cases, government mechanisms involved in these quick and dirty deployments should liaise with their development counterparts to forge a medium- to long-term strategy that suits the particular country in question. Too often, quick fixes have been the result of stovepipe planning without wider consultation across all policy areas.

Seen through the wider security-development lens, peacekeeping should be viewed as one constituent element across a broader security service that helps support wider governance issues. Suffice it to say that the aftermath of any initial military intervention should engage the support of existing local government structures, civil society institutions and any other local actors capable of rebuilding a wider security infrastructure that supports good governance. Beyond patrolling the streets, peacekeepers and international civilian counterparts should work with all institutions across the wider security spectrum. This could include mentoring by uniformed officers to educate indigenous forces on how to carry out professional staff-officer duties, which are overseen by local civilian authorities. Similarly, peacekeeping troops should also become involved in retraining new and democratic national armed forces to serve as competent and capable external security providers.

The peacekeeping example can then be turned around to show how one response mechanism can more effectively lend itself to longer-term national solutions. By creating the capacity within a ministry of defence and an operational headquarters, as well as patrolling the streets to ensure a certain level of security and stability, peacekeeping, together with numerous other security-related programs,17 contributes to a much wider governance agenda. The police reform programs implemented in Haiti in the mid-1990s lacked the comprehensive approach required to engage the interest of the Ministry of the Interior and build the requisite oversight capacity vis-à-vis enabling bodies such as informed parliamentary committees. The approach precluded reform efforts that would have led more sustainably to an overall governance agenda for Haiti in which security and development went hand in hand.

Merging the Disciplines: The Introduction of Joined-up Government

Activities that are a result of the intersection of security and development forces undoubtedly require joint and comprehensive planning that includes all the relevant security government departments. For the United Kingdom, this primarily involves the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, all of which formally came together under the Global Conflict Prevention Pool following a government-wide review of conflict prevention work. The aim of this review was to encourage different departments working in similar areas to cooperate more closely as part of the joined-up initiative. It concluded that the UK’s contribution to conflict prevention “could be even more effective if it was coordinated across departmental boundaries.”18

In response to the review, the Government of the United Kingdom set up two conflict prevention “pools”: the Africa Pool, which covers sub-Saharan Africa, and the Global Conflict Prevention Pool, which covers the rest of the world. The aim of these pools is to integrate the United Kingdom’s policy-making so that the three departments can develop shared strategies for dealing with conflict and make the practical programs they fund as effective as possible.19 The emphasis on working jointly is reflected in the fact that the three departments now share a demanding Public Sector Agreement (PSA) target, which provides for “[i]mproved effectiveness of the UK contribution to conflict prevention and management, as demonstrated by a reduction in the number of people whose lives are affected by violent conflict and a reduction in the potential sources of conflict, where the UK can make a significant contribution.”20

Both pools are overseen by Cabinet committees and are managed at the working level by a joint steering team made up of officials from each department who agree on priorities, budgets and management. They comprise geographical (such as the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa, India and Pakistan), international (that is, European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, UN) and thematic strategies (Security Sector Reform, Small Arms and Light Weapons) as well as a quick response fund that accommodates activities that fall within the Global Pool’s remit but that do not fit into existing strategies.

The joined-up approach to government has also reached Canadian shores. The Government of Canada has described the elements of the 3-D (Defence, Development and Diplomacy) model as Canada’s three main foreign policy instruments. This policy implies interdepartmental cooperation among the departments of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). During the opening of the recent Diplomatic Forum in Toronto, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Harder described the model as a “second priority in the current transition [of government] that places greater emphasis on horizontal thinking.”21

However, many have asked whether the much-needed 3-D approach has halted at the thinking stage. In practice, there is no joined-up pool of resources from which joined-up planning can be managed. An incomplete strategy like this precludes the possibility of strategic thinking at the highest of levels, which, ironically, should be the primary aim of such an exercise. Without any resources, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now separated into two departments, Foreign Affairs Canada [FAC] and the Department of International Trade [DIT]) can only exert minimal influence on CIDA. Similarly, , the apparent lack of resources in the Department of National Defence dilutes that department’s overall influence on joined-up policy. This became only too evident in the recent commitment of Canadian troops to Haiti, which initially amounted to a duration of 90 days and has since been extended to six months under the auspices of a larger multinational UN effort.22 Incidentally, the initial 90-day pledge of troops was issued at the same time as reports suggesting that all branches of the Canadian military lack the resources for major international expeditions.23

This, as far as 3-D is concerned, begs the question of who holds the security-development purse strings and whether or not a more centralized pool of resources is needed to support a pooled capability. At present, CIDA manages a multibillion dollar discretionary fund that is restricted by two things. First, Canada’s membership in the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) implies a commitment to the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s (DAC) official development assistance (ODA) criteria.24 These internationally endorsed criteria include a mandate to deliver development aid in a secure and safe environment and are currently being revised to reflect the realities of failed and postconflict states. Second, the strategic mantra governing CIDA speaks laudably about enhancing aid effectiveness through poverty reduction and contribution to a more secure environment. However, Canada’s involvement assumes some degree of absorptive capacity on the part of the recipient country and a reasonable degree of stability and security in order for CIDA to carry out its programs. This precludes involvement in anything but secure and stable theatres of operations and poses frightening limitations on the use of the discretionary fund for the defence and diplomacy pillars of 3-D. Thus, investing in vulnerable countries seems counter to the CIDA strategic agenda which, again, is underscored by the modalities of Canada’s recent decision to intervene in Haiti.

However, all is not lost with respect to the 3-D approach. The idea itself is encouraging joint discussions and analysis. This emerged recently out of a joint scoping mission by the three Canadian government departments in Haiti and a similar approach taken in Afghanistan, where the funding of the PRTs contributes to military reconstruction projects carried out within a “hearts and minds” operation using civil-affairs teams scattered throughout the country. However, the 3-D picture is still incomplete without joint planning, joint policy, joint implementation and joint endstate.

The Dutch government’s recently forged joined-up initiative has circumvented the dictatorial ODA eligibility criteria. This involved the creation of the Stability Fund, which disposes of resources from the development budget (ODA) and the foreign policy budget (non-ODA). The aim of the fund is to provide rapid and flexible support for activities that foster peace, security and development in countries and regions where violent conflicts are threatening to erupt or have already erupted.25 The fund has the flexibility to be used in developed, transitioning and richer developing countries and can support peace processes, military peacekeeping capacity, security sector reform, small arms and light weapons and crisis management.26 The Dutch government has stated specifically that the “fund will not result in the contamination of development cooperation” and that “if certain activities do not meet the OECD/DAC requirements for ODA, they will simply not be attributable to ODA.”27

On the surface, the problem that is bound to confront the Dutch is the inevitable interface between support for peace missions and the deployment of Dutch troops in them. Peace missions will not be funded by the joined-up Stability Fund, not surprisingly, since the Ministry of Defence has been excluded from the initiative. Its exclusion could pose problems for the Netherlands’ bilaterally funded development and diplomacy initiatives that may require the services of the Dutch armed forces.

The UK model of joined-up government is also not without problems, many of which involve the different departmental motivations across the joined-up partnership. For example, under the Global Conflict Prevention Pool’s thematic strategy Security Sector Reform, a policy brief has been published and endorsed by all ministers across departments.28 Despite this, the UK Ministry of Defence continues to view Security Sector Reform through the lens of conflict prevention vis-à-vis defence diplomacy and defence relations, both of which represent its strategic mantra that embraces SSR-related activities.

By the same token, the Department for International Development evaluates everything against the backdrop of conflict prevention vis-à-vis poverty eradication, which represents its overarching mandate. As a result, strategic disconnects emerge in certain areas. One example recently referred to by the former assistant director for policy and planning29 in the Ministry of Defence involved the military outreach program in Central and East European countries. Because the program enhanced interoperability with UK partners and strengthened defence relations, the Ministry of Defence quite comfortably labelled it as a joined-up SSR activity. However, due to the lack of linkage with poverty eradication, the Department for International Development would not place it under the same description. Such classification becomes important when drawing on joined-up resources and policy guidelines.

In many other respects the UK is farther ahead of the game strategically than are the Dutch and Canadians. The biggest challenge is for each department to overcome the tendency to evaluate joined-up activities against its own single-departmental aims and to view them instead against a new strategic set of joined-up policy criteria. Arguably, the Public Sector Agreement targets take care of this; however, such transformational change, which affects the conventional culture of each of these separate departments, almost requires a separate and complementary change in management strategy to underpin the joined-up process.

Back in Washington, however, the situation is somewhat bleaker. Following the 2003 publication of National Security Adviser Dr. Condolezza Rice’s 2003 National Security Strategy,30 many Washington policy-makers were encouraged by the multiple references made to interagency coordination and activity. Similar to the Canadian government’s 3-D, such interagency activity became described and formalized as “Development, Defence and Diplomacy.” Strategic thinkers were encouraged when this initiative was immediately reflected in one of the most strategic-level policy instruments that viewed security in its broadest sense. However, many have been disappointed with the limited efforts to implement interagency activity at the operational level.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is not a Cabinet-level function, and it has not been elevated to one under the new interagency strategy. As a result, the large and capable department is still viewed as the poor “stepchild” of the State Department. This does not lend itself to the creation of a larger development constituency. Only a fraction of USAID’s budget is discretionary, with the large majority of its spending requiring congressional oversight. Discussions in Washington revealed that Congress tends to take this oversight role one step too far and engages in pork-barrel politics in a way that undermines the development community and the whole ethos behind development assistance. For example, approval for development assistance funds is often contingent on the job opportunities created for different congressional members’ constituencies. As a result, much of the development assistance budget comes back into the US and does not stay in the recipient country.

At the same time, the State Department has almost marginalized the role of USAID as it has created new units for development assistance purposes.31 This has made some bureaucrats in Washington fear that USAID’s role will be scaled down to providing humanitarian assistance only.32 The good news is that, because of their close structural relationship, the State Department and USAID do come together for the formation of joint task groups that respond to crises du jour. But even these efforts are restricted at the operational level. Archaic program design and a lack of funds for operational expenses precludes significant programming where local ownership is central. Once again, program managers in Washington have no choice but to recruit US expatriates to lead these efforts in-country, which is far more expensive than using a combination of USAID people and locally engaged employees and is another manifestation of pork-barrel politics.

While a degree of coordination between the State Department and USAID exists at the policy level, there is a significant gulf between these two departments and those responsible for defence. Although in postwar Iraq significant pressure has been put on Secretary for Defence Donald Rumsfeld to give more consideration to immediate postconflict security vacuums and longer-term stability requirements, there is no formal coordination between the other departments, which makes the Department of Defense’s activities quite reactionary and not visionary.

The final impediment to an American joined-up government is the significant change, and in many cases the complete reversal, of priorities from one administration to the next. Prior to President Bush’s inauguration, the Clinton administration managed its national security strategy through policy instruments known as Presidential Directives on National Security (PDNS). Because these policy instruments only survive for the duration of the administration – unlike strategy documents or white papers, which are more likely to survive successive transitions – developing longer-term joined-up solutions to international priorities becomes difficult.

For the reasons outlined earlier vis-à-vis the US government, the inability to operationalize joined-up policy also remains an issue for the Canadian government, due to current departmental procedural and budgetary issues. But being too quick to replicate the UK government’s approach may also put Canada into an awkward position that would conflict with its traditionally passive approach to donor funding. More specifically, joined-up approaches carry the implication that a country’s assistance policy abroad will seek to harmonize the defence, development and diplomatic elements of a more strategic, longer-term assistance to achieve a sustainable endstate. This requires a more hands-on and bilateral approach on the part of the intervening country – an approach that Canada, in the past decade, has not been able to adopt.

For an effective, joined-up government approach to prevail, a country must first evaluate its foreign policy and determine what joined-up mechanisms are required to achieve foreign policy goals or elements thereof. It must then put careful thought into what government departments will be involved, as policy imperatives stemming from defence, diplomacy and development initiatives differ widely according to the recipient country. For example, in countries like Afghanistan, agricultural issues play an important role in wider security and development concerns, so including an agricultural ministry in a joined-up government structure meant to address security and development might be appropriate and reflect national realities. For a country like Canada, border control, customs and immigration would all be priority areas affecting a joined-up policy on national security and the economic dimension of trade with the United States.

Canada’s bilateral relations with the US are clearly a foreign policy priority. The realities of the war on terrorism and the mood in Washington imply that Canada needs to focus more on domestic and continental security than on helping rebuild states overseas, except where a failed state might become a base for anti-Western terrorism. However, an equally important reason to support democracy and democratic development elsewhere in the world is to protect and promote Canada’s national interests and core values such as liberal democracy, economic prosperity and human rights. Moreover, continuing its overseas assistance will help prevent external threats from landing on Canada’s doorstep.

Clearly, the donor community cannot be all things to all people at all times. Limited resources preclude the indiscriminate and widespread use of national military, development and diplomatic assets except in regions where national interests are clearly at stake or where surplus capacity exists to assist allies. However, any effort by one bilateral donor government should be mirrored by similar efforts by its partner governments and any multilateral donor organization to which it belongs. If this is not achieved, the usefulness of joined-up policy and practice may limited and have potential only in single-nation interventions.

Canada has contributed significantly to the effort to assist failed states. However, the 3-D approach would have to ensure that in any future support there was cooperation among the relevant departments, due to the proven linkages between security and development. Canada’s new National Security Policy is an important step toward identifying the national security interests that must be defended, protected and projected, at home and abroad. The upcoming foreign policy review will also provide the bedrock upon which these interests can be articulated and the mechanisms necessary to implement the foreign policy. Following this review, the Canadian government must critically assess whether or not the current 3-D structure is capable of operationalizing this agenda and whether the government is actually joined-up enough.

Working with Partners

The conceptual union of security, development and the wider governance agenda in the provion of overseas assistance has encouraged donor governments to restructure to provide a much more coherent and comprehensive operational approach. While these efforts should be applauded, the benefits of joined-up policy instruments will not be fully realized unless partner governments and recipient states adopt the same approach.

As far as recipient states are concerned, much depends on the state of their security infrastructure, as well as the nature of the external assistance under consideration. At one end of the spectrum, the quick fixes in collapsed states must be supported by joint strategic planning between the security and development communities. The 2000 intervention by the British forces in Sierra Leone serves as an example of a quick fix, but one that was reasonably well supported by plans for parallel programs supporting the wider governance issues. Although Iraq was not a failed state, the 2003 US-led intervention revealed no strategic planning contingencies spanning Washington offices, apart from those within the Pentagon. There are huge implications for future coalition interventions if close allies such as Canada and UK go down the joined-up route without the US doing the same.

At the other end of the spectrum is what is required of Western donor governments and regional and subregional organizations in the southern hemisphere – arguably the regions into which most overseas development assistance is channelled. There are currently a number of regional and subregional organizations that serve as the key mechanisms to support the peace and security agendas in different parts of the world. Organizations such as the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have not, until recently, been equipped with a resource base and decision-making frameworks that are adequate to sanction and deploy regional peacekeeping missions. However, an organization like the Organization of American States (OAS), whose membership straddles both the northern and southern hemispheres, has proven reasonably useful for peacebuilding purposes in Haiti, where it was able to draw on the riches of the North and the knowledge of the South. Had the joint UN-OAS mission in Haiti not been plagued by a dominant UN, the short-term expectations and the less-than-adequate outcome, an acceptable regional solution to a regional problem might have developed.

Strategies used in Sierra Leone and most recently in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan are examples of how interventions have become regionalized. The combination of the deployment of the Nigerian-dominated ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) – whose troops were later absorbed under the UN Assistance Missions in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) – the sanctions imposed on Liberia, close cooperation with the Guinea government and the creation of the International Contact Group on Liberia (which included West African countries like Monrovia, Senegal and Nigeria) all contributed to a more regionalized effort. Another example is the recent support provided for the deployment of military monitors under the AU-led Ceasefire Commission (CFC) to the Darfur region of Sudan to monitor the political violence that has led to severe humanitarian crises.

Thus, along with harmonizing interdonor approaches, bolstering regional and subregional capacity is a critical element of any expanded joined-up strategy to address the global peace and security agenda and reach overseas development assistance goals. The response to the resurgence of conflict in Haiti was a clear case for the engagement of regional organizations like CARICOM or the OAS as the lead agent, with assistance from others. Like several African countries, many Latin American and Caribbean countries cannot, even collectively, fund a large-scale military deployment, much less the work of indigenous civilian agencies. However, as these groups bring the local knowledge that garners trust, more effort must be directed toward developing regional and subregional capacity for groups of states with direct national security interests in these conflict regions. If this were the case, and as long as funding allowed, interest would not wane as quickly as does the impetus driving an international intervention, particularly in the most remote areas in Africa, which are quickly forgotten. Moreover, developing countries would view external assistance much more favourably if their own regional governing bodies had a voice in how it was implemented.


This paper began with the premise that international strategies for the provision of donor assistance in postconflict and transitioning states require more coherence at the planning and implementation levels. It reviewed the linkages between security and development and the contribution this union makes to good governance. It also emphasized that, while a wide spectrum of tools exists to address security-development issues such as peacekeeping, each tool must incorporate the wider governance issues its individual contributions seek to support. These arguments were substantiated by examples of where inadequate, stovepipe approaches by external actors undermined a longer-term sustainable solution.

It then discussed how lessons learned from these interventions and the discourse on the security-development nexus have provided the impetus for a number of bilateral donor governments to restructure the relevant departments in order to achieve more joined-up strategic objectives. The experiences of the governments of the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and the US were critically reviewed, with the conclusion that incomplete strategies for joined-up approaches will result in not only incoherent national interventions but also disjointed multilateral interventions.

Improved delivery mechanisms for impact-driven international assistance require well-informed funders who can think strategically and who are willing to draw on regional capacity in order to support a regional solution to a regional problem. These strategies will help close the gap between the approaches of external and internal actors and result in policy instruments that are better suited to addressing wider governance issues.

This will not happen overnight, and for some partner countries policies and approaches will change only slowly or, in some cases, not at all. However, for the Canadian government, the time is ripe to fully apply the new approach to its fairly significant overseas assistance budget in a way that ensures that security and development remain inseparable. The 3-D approach provides an excellent platform for this conceptual development; however, its operational success will continue to be challenged if the same holistic approaches are not pursued by its closest partners. Moreover, the failure to address regional and subregional peace and security agendas in target countries will also undermine the effort.

Canada must review its commitment to official development assistance (ODA) eligibility criteria and reconcile calls for ODA reform with the constraints this arrangement currently imposes on its 3-D model. In addition, Canada’s imminent foreign policy review should be used as an exercise to ensure a clear articulation and understanding of its national interests in a changing world. Having articulated these interests, policy-makers must decide how to defend these interests at home and abroad and identify the mechanisms it can draw on to realize these objectives.

The critical relationship between security and development implies that addressing these national security concerns through the use of overseas assistance funds involves a fully consultative process among all relevant departments. Strategic analysis must also extend to planning and implementation. For this to happen, a 3-D budget, or a joined-up pool of resources, is absolutely necessary. Canada’s current arrangement, which leaves CIDA holding most of the purse strings, will impede operational effectiveness on the ground.

Lastly, Canada must develop strategies to influence and consult with partners whose national security interests are broadly similar in specific parts of the world. Moreover, it must do more to empower the regional and sub-regional organizations that have specific peace and security mechanisms and agendas that serve the needs of each area. Where resources remain a problem, Canada should strike a balance in the allocation of its overseas aid between empowering regional capacity to respond to regional problems (by developing closer links with organizations like the AU and CARICOM) and providing a more comprehensive effort where no regional operational capacity exists. This comprehensive effort should support institutional development and good governance, as well as training and technical assistance. Where Canada is restricted with respect to the activities it can support, it should still be engaged in more holistic planning processes with its partners.

  1. “Joined-up” government relates to the British Labour government’s policy of promoting co-ordination of the various government activities that contribute to the conflict-prevention agenda.
  2. The term “second generational peace-keeping” was popularized during the early 1990s following the deployment of peace-keeping troops to the Balkans and eastern and central African regions. The term recognized the utility of classic peacekeeping principles and endorsed the notion of “wider peacekeeping responsibilities.” See John MacKinlay and Jarat Chopra, “Multinational Operations,” Washington Quarterly” (summer 1992): 113-131.
  3. Randolph Kent and Ann M Fitz-Gerald, Securing Humanitarian Space, unpublished report submitted to the UK Department for International Development and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Office based on a two-year research program.
  4. See Voices of the Poor, a series of studies commissioned by the World Bank. Consulted July 13, 2004.
  5. Based on discussions with senior officers from the Ethiopian Ministry of National Defence (Addis Ababa, February 13, 2004).
  6. See “The Fire Rekindles,” Economist, June 3, 2004.
  7. See Security Sector Reform Policy Brief, Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom (September 2003).
  8. See Les Perreaux, “Canadian troops will welcome added muscle when mission expands in Afghanistan” March 11, 2004. Consulted July 14, 2004. nistan/story.html?id=30A9591D-D41A-4217-BE88-FC110E99E2F9
  9. Presentation by Trinidad and Tobago Office of the National Security Advisor to the “Latin America and Caribbean Security Networking Symposium,” Kingston, Jamaica, April 20-23, 2004.
  10. See Tim Judah, “Goodbye to Yugoslavia,” New York Review of Books 48, no. 2 (February 2001).
  11. Ann Fitz-Gerald, “Security Sector Reform in Serbia and Montenegro: A Scoping Study,” Balkans Directorate, Department for International Development (United Kingdom, 2002).
  12. Discussions with Canadian peacekeepers serving with the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia revealed that houses and schools that had been rebuilt by donor organizations remained empty. One example was school in the western Bosnian town of Glamoc that was reconstructed by the United States Agency International Development (USAID) and still stood empty even after two years, due to the lack of children in the area (interview conducted at Banja Luka, Republica Srpska, June 16, 2002).
  13. See A.M. Fitz-Gerald, “Challenges for Multinational Troops in Future Peacekeeping Theatres,” Journal of Conflict Studies 23, no 1 (spring 2003), and Chetan Kumar and Elizabeth Cousens, “Building Peace in Haiti,” Occasional Paper Series, International Peace Academy (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998).
  14. A.M. Fitz-Gerald, “Multinational Land Force Interoperability: Meeting the Challenge of Different Cultural Backgrounds in Chapter VI Peace Support Operations” Choices 8, no. 3 (August 2002).
  15. Douglas Farah, “Embargo Continues to Leak,” The Washington Post, May 21, 1994, A18.
  16. “Haiti’s Conflict,” Economist, February 7, 2004.
  17. Wider security programs may include disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of excombatants and other displaced persons or small arms and light weapons (SALW) programs.
  18. The Global Conflict Prevention Pool: A Joint UK Government Approach to Reducing Conflict (London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2003), 6.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid., 7.
  21. Peter Harder, Speech presented at the opening of the Diplomatic Forum, Toronto, Ontario (December 4, 2003).
  22. “UN to take over Haiti peacekeeping mission,” Toronto Star, June 2, 2004.
  23. Kevin Cox and Tu Tanha ha, “Canada Commits to Haiti,” The Globe and Mail, March 6, 2004.
  24. See The DAC Guidelines: Helping to Prevent Conflict (OECD, 2001). Consulted July 21, 2004 ( 1886146.pdf). Official development assistance refers to bilateral and multilateral funding for development programs. This funding is chanelled directly to the beneficiary governments. See https://www.,2678,en_2649_33721 _1797105_1_1_1_1,00.html
  25. See the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Mutual Interests, Mutual Responsibilities: Dutch Development Cooperation en Route to 2015,” policy memorandum (October 2003).
  26. Ibid.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Security Sector Reform Policy Brief, Global Conflict Prevention Pool (September 2003).
  29. “Whitehall Security Sector Reform Policy Seminar,” Church House, Westminster, London, September 17-18, 2003.
  30. The White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (September 2002). Consulted July 16, 2004.
  31. The US State Department recently created the Millenium Countries Corporation (MCC) to oversee the Millenium Countries Activities, the latter of which involves providing assistance to an annual selection of countries in accordance with the objectives set out for them by the MCC. Andrew Natsios, the administrator for USAID, is a member of the MCC.
  32. Based on discussions with numerous USAID employees (conducted at USAID, Washington, May 6, 2004).

Biographical Note

Ann Fitz-Gerald is an associate professor at Cranfield University’s Department of Defence Management and Security Analysis at the United Kingdom Defence Academy. She is also the director of Cranfield’s Centre for Managing Security in Transitional Societies. She holds degrees in commerce, war studies, political science and defence management. Her Ph.D. thesis examined the disparities within multinational military forces and the impact these disparities have on sustainable peace and development strategies. Ann has carried out extensive fieldwork in conflict resolution, the security-development nexus and security sector reform in Haiti, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, West Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq in both research and practitioner capacities. She is widely published and is co-author of Providing Security for the People: Security Sector Reform in Africa. She is currently the director of the Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform, a contract funded by the UK government, which involves an international team of experts to facilitate all policy development and capacity-building in security-related areas.

This publication was produced under the direction of Hugh Segal, President, IRPP. The manuscript was copy-edited by Francesca Worrall, proofreading was by Timothy Niedermann, production was by Chantal Létourneau and printing was by Impressions Graphiques.

Copyright belongs to IRPP. To order or request permission to reprint, contact:

1470 Peel Street, Suite 200
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1T1
Telephone: 514-985-2461
Fax: 514-985-2559

All Policy Matters and Choices are available at

To cite this document: Fitz-Gerald, Ann M. 2004. “Addressing the SecurityDevelopment Nexus: Implications for Joined-up Government.” Policy Matters 5, no. 5. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.