Identify literature on best practice and lessons learned in multi-agency stabilisation operations. What evidence is available on whether civilian or military leadership produce better outcomes in different contexts?
While there is as yet limited empirical evidence of what works best in
multi-agency – or ‘whole-of-government’ – approaches to stabilisation,
the literature does identify some lessons learned and principles of good
practice. These include:
Overcoming common challenges: establishing transparent processes to
identify and manage tensions and trade-offs between neutral
humanitarian assistance and other military objectives; dealing with
gaps in integrated strategic frameworks, civilian capabilities and
government cultural and procedural coherence; and recognising the
limitations of overly-ambitious, top-down, linear approaches.
Fostering local ownership: aligning to shared national frameworks of
political, security and development objectives; working to strengthen
the capacity of national institutions; building more constructive
state-society relations; creating more comprehensive
‘whole-of-society’ approaches that include civil society actors.
Establishing inter-agency structures: learning from experiences with
initiatives such as inter-agency boards, permanent inter-agency units
and inter-agency funding pools; considering how to effectively
integrate contributions from a greater range of government bodies.
Using joint processes: using joint analysis and planning to foster
inter-ministerial understanding and implementation; improving the
integration of political analysis and using plans to inform
programming; securing high-level commitment for dedicated resources
and broad participation in monitoring and evaluation.
Operationalising the approach: considering differentiated application
of the whole-of-government approach, where the intensity and degree of
cooperation varies according to the mode of operation, subject area,
and level of implementation (Baumann, 2013).
Discussions on the leadership of stabilisation operations highlight
recommendations for improving civil-military coordination through
clear structures for coordination and leadership and consistent,
strategic engagement to establish mutual understanding; and investing
in civilian capacity to take the operational lead in
whole-of-government stabilisation approaches.
Carter, B. Multi-agency stabilisation operations (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1198). Birmingham, UK (2015) 9 pp. [Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham]