Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force

The effects of armed conflict and state fragility often spill over international borders, taking on a regional or global dimension, posing a pressing challenge to Canadian security, stability, interests and prosperity at home and abroad. Responding to stabilization and reconstruction needs in fragile and conflict-affected states involves addressing a wide range of issues with a broad assortment of activities and instruments.

Canada's role

The Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) is the Government of Canada’s centre of expertise on fragile and conflict-affected states. START provides rapid, responsive and effective stabilization and reconstruction programming and deployments in crises or fragile situations throughout the world and manages whole-of-government coordination in complex crises, including a response to natural disasters. START works to:

  • strengthen institutions and civil society in fragile and conflict-affected states;
  • facilitate timely and coordinated responses to international humanitarian crises;
  • develop Canadian policies on fragile states and peace operations;
  • deliver programs that support stabilization, conflict management, peace building, peacekeeping, and peace operations; and
  • deploy Canadian expertise to assist in crisis situations.

Specific activities can include supporting efforts to:

  • advocate for and lead initiatives that protect vulnerable populations, including women and children;
  • develop policy for global peace operations and humanitarian responses;
  • mitigate the effects of explosive remnants of war;
  • empower civil society engagement through training and outreach;
  • strengthen democratic political processes internationally;
  • coordinate Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security;
  • monitor and enable free and fair elections in countries where democracy is at risk; and,
  • support security system reform in fragile and conflict-affected states.

START manages the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) to support programming that responds to the needs of emerging international crises and peace and security challenges in a timely, effective and coherent manner. As a means of immediate international assistance, START programming is intended to be for the short-term and catalytic, but it can also complement or be incorporated into longer-term development initiatives.

Quick facts:

  • About 1.5 billion citizens around the world live in fragile or conflict-affected situations.
  • Conflict-affected states lose as much as $39 billion annually in gross domestic product and cost the wider international community as much as $237 billion per year.
  • Fragile and conflict-affected countries face particularly severe development challenges, such as weak institutional capacity, poor governance, political instability and, frequently, continuing violence or the legacy effects of past severe conflict