Evaluation of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) and Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF)
Department of Global Affairs Canada
Office of the Inspector General
- Executive summary
- 1.0 Introduction
- 2.0 Evaluation scope & objectives
- 3.0 Key considerations
- 4.0 Evaluation approach & methodology
- 5.0 Limitations to methodology
- 6.0 Evaluation findings: relevance
- 7.0 Evaluation findings: Performance
- 8.0 Conclusions
- 9.0 Recommendations
- 10.0 Management response and action plan
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The evaluation team would like to express its appreciation to the many individuals and organizations who agreed to contribute to this evaluation by offering honest feedback on the relevance and performance of START and GPSF, as well as by sharing their experience and good practices with similar programs. Special gratitude is extended to the Heads of Canadian Diplomatic Missions and mission staff in countries where START has implemented major projects for agreeing to be interviewed and for their support in organizing meetings for the evaluators with program beneficiaries and like-minded partners. The evaluation team would also like to thank START program managers and project officers for their support with relevant information and documents, as well as for their patience during the evaluation process. We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Catherine Gander to the development of the cases studies on Colombia and SGBV. Lastly, the team would like to extend its appreciation to the members of the Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) for their participation and feedback during this evaluation.
In 2005, recognizing the need for an appropriate mechanism to fill the programming gap between immediate humanitarian assistance and longer-term development and security sector assistance, the Government of Canada (GC) created the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) with a mandate to advance Canada’s foreign policy priorities of addressing international security challenges and promoting the Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law in fragile and conflict-affected states. Subsequently, in April 2005, the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) was launched with a notional budget of $100 million per year and a five-year mandate. Managed by START, GPSF was created to fill a funding and operational gap within what was at the time the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), now Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for programming that ensures a rapid and efficient whole-of government response to crisis situations, both natural and human inflicted.
The purpose of this summative evaluation is to provide the Department’s senior management with a neutral and evidence-based assessment of the relevance and performance (value for money) of START and GPSF. The evaluation covered START and GPSF initiatives and programming activities implemented between April 2010 and September 2015. A mixed method approach was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of sources. In-person and telephone interviews were conducted with over 190 key international and domestic stakeholders. ZIE evaluators conducted field visits to nine countries in South East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America which allowed for direct observation of achieved outcomes and interviews with program staff and beneficiaries.
An extensive document review was also used to complement the interviews and field visits. A comprehensive desk review of a sample of 84 projects, selected from the 390 START/GPSF projects implemented over the evaluation reference period, allowed for an in-depth analysis of the degree to which projects have achieved their expected outcomes and the way these have been tracked and reported. A comparative analysis of like-minded countries’ stabilization programming was also researched and their best practices were used to complement analysis and provide benchmarks for comparing START and GPSF achievements. Finally, thematic case studies on mine action and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) programming and country case studies on programming in Colombia, Jordan and Ukraine provided additional insight for the evaluation.
Crises, both natural and human inflicted, contribute to regional and international instability that threaten Canadians and Canadian interest both directly and indirectly. Global security and conflict trends suggest that instability will continue to pose a threat in the near future as exemplified by a number of new and ongoing crises in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and the increase in the reach and scope of radical Islamist groups. With many of these threats originating in fragile and conflict-affected states, Canada, along with its allies, has a compelling reason to combat these threats at the source.
The international community has united in recent years in the search for concerted and coordinated ways to address the drivers of instability and conflict. Recognizing the fact that addressing the challenges of fragile and conflict-affected states requires a more holistic approach, a number of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, such as Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.) have either established or further strengthened their stabilization capacities and related organizational and programming structures to address the specific challenges and threats arising from such states.
Prior to the creation of START, policy and programming in fragile and conflict-affected states were fragmented between different GC departments and agencies. This deficit called for the development of a standing capacity to monitor crisis situations, plan for and rapidly deliver integrated policy and programming responses, drawing upon the collective and coordinated contributions of government departments. With the increase in the number of fragile states around the world in conflict or at risk of conflict, the rationale for START and GPSF has never been more compelling. In addition, GAC is uniquely positioned within the GC to provide whole of government operational support and coordination to Canadian interventions in response to international crises making it the logical home for START and GPSF.
START and GPSF have been highly responsive to both the geographic and thematic priorities of the government of the day; however, aligning programming with these priorities may have occasionally led START and GPSF to deviate from their core areas of focus and competence. For instance, START implemented projects in some countries that have not been in conflict or at risk of conflict, nor even fragile by international standards (e.g., Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Moldova, Paraguay, etc.), while at the same time reducing programming in other countries and regions (i.e. East and West Africa) seriously affected by instability and conflict. During the same period, START also programmed in domains such as counter-terrorism, anti-crime, humanitarian mine action, social/welfare services, reproductive health care, medical services, and human rights, which, though tangentially related to its mandate, fall within the purview of other departmental programs.
Direct observations and evidence collected during the field visits indicated that most projects have achieved their immediate and intermediate outcomes, however, there was little or no reporting on how these project results have contributed or are contributing to the overall program-level outcomes. The evaluation assessed and summarized aggregated results under each of the four “Results Stories”, defined by the intermediate outcomes in the START logic model.
Projects aimed at achieving Intermediate Outcome #1: Strengthened Institutions and Civil Society in Affected States accounted for the largest share of GPSF disbursements over the evaluation period. The evaluation found that START projects contributed to increased capacity of state institutions and civil society organizations to address instability, manage conflict, and deliver services that helped restore stability and security in a number of fragile and conflict-affected states. In terms of performance under Intermediate Outcome #2: Strengthened Government of Canada Crisis Response, the evaluation found that START has developed strategic and operations tools and procedures to support timely responses to natural disasters and complex emergencies. However, the evaluation noted that the GC’s response to emerging and protracted crises has been uneven over the past five years which has impacted the ability of START to deliver upon its full mandate. The evaluation found that START’s support to international institutions continues to constitute the largest share of program disbursements but that the overall level of support declined over the past five years which impacted the program’s performance under Intermediate Outcome #3: Strengthened International Responses to Specific Crisis Situations.
START’s fourth intermediate outcome, Strengthened International Frameworks for Addressing Crisis Situations, focusses on START’s contribution to the broader GC policy dialogue and advocacy to strengthen international frameworks. With the exception of its work on Women, Peace, and Security, START has, over the evaluation reference period, achieved little by way of contributing to the development of new frameworks to address crises. Interlocutors and interviewees attributed this to a number of factors, including but not limited to the uncertainties related to the renewal of START’s funding authorities, the Project Initiation Authorization (PIA) process, according to which every single project proposal had to be approved by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the directed programming instituted by the Office of the Minister. The governance structure of START has evolved since the 2009 official re-organization of the Program. The evaluation found that the introduction of the PIA process in 2011 and the emergence of parallel centres of policy expertise have caused some ambiguities around roles, responsibilities and accountabilities with regard to policy and programming.
In addition, strategic planning within START has been affected by the PIA process and uncertainties related to renewals of GPSF funding authorities. The lack of an overall, multi–year strategy for a whole-of-government approach to crisis response and stabilization initiatives in priority countries has reportedly hindered START’s ability to monitor and measure progress and report on the achievement of results against clear goals and expected outcomes. In particular, the absence of country and thematic/sector strategies in the context of stabilization has led to dispersed and uneven programming, informed by opportunities rather than strategic planning.
START has instituted a robust project review process with challenge functions performed by the Project Accountability Team (PAT) and the Deputy Project Accountability Team (DPAT). The institution of the PIA process, however, affected the ability of PAT and DPAT to perform genuine challenge functions and allowed for projects of marginal relevance to START’s mandate to be approved.
The evaluation found that operational coordination in response to natural disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the Nepal earthquake, has been robust and effective, backed by strong standard operating procedures (SOPs), and the routine conduct of post-response assessments and evaluations of each major intervention. However, the level of operational and whole-of-government coordination and planning for GPSF programming in fragile and conflict affected states, except for Ukraine and Syria, was found to be not as strong as that for natural disasters.
START demonstrated some improved coordination with GAC’s security programs over the past two years, but coordination and leveraging of synergies with development programming in the field was found to be inconsistent. Coordination with international partners in stability and security projects has been stronger where START made significant investments and where START had a field presence. Although, this does not compensate for the prolonged interruptions in engagement and funding of projects in Haiti, Colombia and South Sudan, as well as the withdrawal of START’s field representatives, which have led to reduced participation of Canada in donor coordination fora, and have been viewed by international partners and implementing organizations as negatively impacting Canada’s image as a reliable partner and contributor to the peace process in these countries.
START’s performance in leveraging the expertise of other government departments (OGDs) to contribute to stabilization efforts diminished over the evaluation reference period. For instance, START contributions to the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA) in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Public Safety (PS) declined, as did START’s civilian deployments. START and GPSF have demonstrated some success in leveraging the resources of other partner governments, such as the U.S. and U.K., to deliver its programming and enhance program/project efficiency and effectiveness.
START’s capacity to disburse funds rapidly, compared to other funding instruments, is one of its strengths; however, the PIA process impacted adversely the efficiency of START’s programming.. The three short-term renewals of GPSF’s funding authorities over the evaluation reference period also led to reduced windows for programming and project approval delays led to necessitated changes to the originally proposed activities by partners and implementers.
START has developed a risk management framework (currently under review); however, adherence to this framework was found to be inconsistent. The reduced ability of PAT and DPAT to perform a challenge function has been attenuated by the directed programming and the limited technical capacity within START to identify risks (financial, fiduciary and implementation risks). The lack of START officer field presence also reduced the ability of the Program to develop timely risk management strategies in response to changing security levels. In 2015, IRP developed a special “Risk Map” and “Risk Monitor” tool which provides a general overview of emerging trends in fragile states but, except for a “Burma Conflict and Fragility Assessment” paper, no other evidence was found of detailed country-level conflict analysis. Monitoring at the project and program level was also found to be incommensurate with the level of project funding and related programming risk.
START has instituted a good project management tool that includes both project and financial information; however, there has been insufficient oversight of the quality of information entered. The evaluation found that the quality of the data entered varied depending on the level of training and expertise of the project officers. The frequent turnover of START staff with different project managers starting and closing a project was also referenced as a contributing factor to the inconsistent reporting.
START has developed a performance measurement framework and logic model identifying its expected outcomes; however the lack of alignment with the Program’s Security and Stability Project Management Tool (SSMPT) has reduced their use for planning and reporting purposes. The fact that the SSMPT does not allow for input of outcomes as defined in START’s logic model makes the demonstration of results at the program level particularly difficult. Additionally, in the absence of relevant outcome-level data, program managers cannot easily aggregate project results to check if the program is on course for achieving its intended outcomes.
START had developed a human resource strategy and training programs to support continuous learning; however, their irregular implementation and uncertainties relating to funding authorities have created staff and corporate memory retention challenges. For instance, when training did occur over the evaluation period, it was reported to be largely confined to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and more process rather than substance-oriented. The high turnover rates also resulted in frequent changes of the project officers/contact points for international partners and for other GAC divisions and missions, leading to loss of corporate memory, continuity and knowledge-sharing.
START’s spending has been uneven over the past five years with significantly lower spending in 2012 and 2013, resulting in inefficiencies, such as higher administrative costs, reduced opportunities for program managers to maintain relationships with other donors and increased risks for the sustainability of project results.
The experience of like-minded countries and major international organization has unequivocally demonstrated that preventing crisis situations is cheaper than dealing with conflict, and provides much higher value-for-money spent on security programs, especially when they are helping to prevent costly military interventions. The evaluation found that during the past five years, START had increasingly focussed its programming on the symptoms of conflict rather than on the root causes of instability.
Recommendation #1: While the assumptions that have informed the creation of START and GPSF remain largely valid, the evolving nature of security threats and state conflict require that START reassess its strategic objectives, policy and programming priorities.
Recommendation #2: START should re-introduce longer-term strategic planning for major programming themes and promote sustainable results, while retaining its ability to respond quickly to emerging and evolving needs.
Recommendation #3: START should continue improving its coordination with other GAC policy and programming streams, particularly with development, both at headquarters (HQ) and in the field.
Recommendation #4: START should strengthen its performance measurement systems and practices at the overall program, country, thematic and project levels.
Recommendation #5: START should increase gender-focused planning and programming, and improve the integration of gender considerations in all projects across thematic areas and priority countries.
The summative evaluation of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) and the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) was undertaken as part of the Five-Year Evaluation Plan of the Evaluation Division (ZIE) in the Office of the Inspector General (ZID) and in response to a Treasury Board (TB) requirement for the potential renewal of GPSF beyond March 31, 2016.
This evaluation started in June 2015 and covers a reference period of five years from April 2010 to October 2015, which represents the time elapsed since the last START/GPSF summative evaluation. The target audience for this evaluation is Global Affairs Canada (GAC) senior management, program directors and project officers; central agencies; and the Canadian public.
1.1 Background and Context
International peace and security are increasingly threatened by the growing number of crises triggered by armed conflicts, terrorist activities, state fragility, and natural disasters. Addressing violence and the consequences of humanitarian crises and complex emergencies represents a major challenge for the international community, which has become increasingly cognizant of the fact that without timely and coherent support, fragile and conflict-affected states will continue to present a threat to global security.
The Government of Canada’s (GC) response to the need to mitigate crises, prevent conflicts and state failures, and contain potential spillovers of violence materialized in a set of discrete programs for countries of concern. The Human Security Program (HSP), established in 2000, was one of the first programs with a five-year mandate (2000 – 2005) and an annual budget of $10 million designed to support diplomatic leadership, policy advocacy, country-specific initiatives and domestic and multilateral capacity building initiatives, predominantly in Africa.
In 2005, recognizing the need for an appropriate mechanism to fill the funding and operational gap between immediate humanitarian assistance and longer-term development and security sector assistance the GC created START. Its mandate was to advance Canada’s foreign policy priorities of addressing international security challenges and promoting the Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law abroad. GPSF was launched in April 2005, with a notional budget of $100 million per year and a five-year mandate. Managed by START, GPSF was created to ensure a rapid and efficient whole-of-government response to crises that are natural or human-inflicted disasters.
Evolution of GPSF Funding Authorities
In September 2006, the TB approved spending authorities for programming under GPSF in Sudan, Haiti, and Afghanistan, along with funding for the International Police Peacekeeping and Peace Operations Program (IPP) through FY 2009/10. Policy and spending authorities after March 31, 2007 for other GPSF programs, such as the Global Peace and Operations Program (GPOP), HSP (renamed the Glyn Berry Program), and the Fragile States Initiative, required Cabinet and separate TB approvals. After these authorities were granted in June 2007 and funding in the amount of $224.4 million was approved for the three programs, START became GAC’s and Canada’s integrated platform for policy, programming and quick operational response to conflicts, crises and natural disasters. In 2008, the policy and funding authorities for START and GPSF were extended for five years until 2012/13 at CAD $164.7 million per year. At the same time, GPSF was given multi-year authority for project-based programming and endorsement to engage in fragile states other than Afghanistan, Sudan and Haiti. GAC’s continued management of the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) Crisis Pool through the START Secretariat was also endorsed that year.
In April 2013, a Program extension for up to one year was approved, followed by another six-month extension until September 30, 2014. On September 29, 2014, the TB approved an 18-month extension of GPSF policy and funding authorities until March 31, 2016.
1.2 Program Mandate, Objectives and Activities
The underpinning rationale for START was the recognition that in order to effectively deal with the complexities of fragile states and international crises, the GC needed a whole-of-government approach combining the policy, programming and coordination capacities of the Foreign Service, the development agencies, as well as the justice, policing, correctional and military services. START enabled the creation of such synergies through the use of expertise from all relevant departments and agencies. With a mandate focused on policy development, coherence and advocacy in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis response, civilian protection and stabilization in fragile states, START also became a platform for operational support and coordination of international crises – both natural and human-inflicted. Since its operationalization in 2006, GPSF has been used to deliver high-impact programming in Afghanistan, Haiti, Sudan, Lebanon, Colombia, Uganda, the West Bank and Gaza, with Ukraine and Jordan gaining special attention over the evaluation reference period. A particular emphasis was also recently placed on safeguarding the human rights and well-being of women and children in situations of conflict and state fragility, as well on the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
The main objectives of START have undergone various articulations since its establishment, conveying slightly different perspectives of the focus of the program but still capturing the key elements of its mandate. While this was partly due to the changing security environment, global trends and government priorities, it was also an attestation of START’s flexibility and ability to adapt its programming to evolving needs. For example, during the first five years, programming was mostly focussed on Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan, subsequently moving to countries such as Colombia, and more recently, to Jordan, the West Bank and Ukraine.
Due to the cross-cutting thematic work in various priority areas, over the past five years START/GPSF has attempted to undertake a more holistic approach to regional and country programming under specific thematic priorities to better respond to newly emerging security and stabilization needs of fragile and conflict-affected states. The main GPSF thematic areas and expected results for the past five years are reflected in the START Logic Model and specified, under the following four “Result Stories”:
- Strengthening institutions and civil society in affected states
- Strengthening Government of Canada’s responses to crisis situations
- Strengthening international responses to specific crisis situations
- International frameworks in use for addressing crisis situations
START collaborates with a variety of stakeholders both within GAC and externally, many of whom contribute to/or benefit from the programming activities. Policy, programming and operations are often delivered in cooperation with partners such as allied governments and intermediaries external to GC (recipients of GPSF resources and/or implementing entities), including Canadian and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and multilateral organizations. For example, START manages GPSF and the deployment of GC civilian experts, works with the Department of National Defence (DND) to deploy Canadian Forces (CF) personnel into multilateral peace operations, and coordinates the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA) with Public Safety Canada (PS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to deploy civilian police officers as part of international peace operations.
Target populations may vary depending on the conflict, crises or natural disaster in which START engages, with beneficiaries including a range of age groups, genders, and marginalized or vulnerable populations.
The governance structure of START is multi-layered and reflective of its complex role as the GC focal point for international stabilization work, and its related policy, programming and operational responsibilities.
The START bureau is managed by a Director General of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force Bureau (IRD) who reports to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) for International Security (IFM). To ensure policy coherence and to avoid duplication, various inter and intradepartmental committees (Deputy Minister (DM), ADM and Director General (DG) levels) are called upon as required to inform and guide emerging priority-setting exercises and implement Cabinet mandated priorities in the whole-of-government context, the main being the START Advisory Board (SAB) - an interdepartmental oversight body (DND, Privy Council Office (PCO), RCMP, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), Correctional Services Canada (CSC) and Department of Justice (DoJ), etc.). At various stages throughout the project life cycle, challenge and review functions are performed by internal review committees (the Project Accountability Team (PAT) and the Deputy Project Accountability Team (DPAT)).
Within IRD, there are currently four functional divisions, each fulfilling a specific function:
- Stabilization and Reconstruction Programs Division (IRG): Conducts programming activities along the main geographic regions and thematic priorities.
- Peace Operations and Fragile States Policy Division (IRP): Develops and coordinates policy around fragile states, conflict management, international peacekeeping and peace building initiatives.
- Deployment and Coordination Division (IRC): Provides advice, guidance and direction for the entire IRD bureau with regard to business processes, risk and performance management; conducts an independent review of all projects to ensure compliance with requirements and guidelines, coordinates and manages whole-of-government expert civilian deployments including the CPA.
- Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response Division (IRH): Develops, coordinates and implements Canada’s policy on international humanitarian affairs, and Canada’s responses to international humanitarian crises caused by both natural disasters and armed conflict.Footnote 1
1.4 Program Resources
The Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force Bureau (IRD) employs 68 direct Full-Time Equivalent (FTEs). Position classifications include Administrative Services (AS), Programme Administrative (PM), Foreign Service (FS) and Economic/Social Science (EC).
START/GPSF funds are earmarked in the fiscal framework for Peace and Security initiatives within the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) with most of the programming falling within the scope of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
In the period April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2015, START’s annual budget allocations varied considerably (between $89M and $150M) due to the number of different TB spending authorities granted over the five-year reference period.
The graph below represents the total START/GPSF budget allocations (including Vote 1 and 10) by fiscal year (FY) from 2010 to 2016.Footnote 2
- The graph represents the total START/GPSF budget allocations (including Vote 1 and 10) by fiscal year (FY) from 2010 to 2016.
- 2010: $121.5 million
- 2011: $150.6 million
- 2012: $93.1 million
- 2013: $117.1 million
- 2014: $88.9 million
- 2015: $114.7 million
- 2016: $159.6 million
* Final information for FY2015-2016 was not available at the time of report writing.
Annually, between $12.5 and $14 million from Vote 1 funding is provided to RCMP for the CPA. This program was evaluated separately, as a horizontal evaluation, jointly with RCMP and PS, therefore it is not part of this evaluation.
More detailed description and analysis of the disbursement trends over the past five years are presented in the Efficiency and Effectiveness section of this report.
2.0 Evaluation scope & objectives
The purpose of this summative evaluation was to provide the Department’s senior management with a neutral and evidence-based assessment of the relevance and performance (value for money) of START and GPSF.
The specific objectives of this evaluation were as follows:
- To determine the relevance of START and GPSF by assessing the extent to which they address a demonstrable need, continue to be aligned with the priorities of the GC and represent an appropriate role for the GC and GAC to fulfill.
- To evaluate the performance of START and GPSF in achieving their expected outcomes efficiently and economically.
- To reflect on the lessons learned from the management of individual GPSF projects and best practices that could inform future initiatives and the program.
The evaluation was built upon the findings and recommendations of the 2009 GPSF Summative Evaluation and is specifically focussed on achieved outcomes from START and GPSF initiatives and programming activities implemented between April 2010 and September 2015.
In addition to the analysis of specific programming activities and projects implemented by IRG, the evaluation also covers the overall functions and corporate management of the START Bureau, including the policy initiatives executed by IRP, the crises response activities of IRH, and the civilian deployments executed by IRC.
In the context of an amalgamated department, the evaluation also assessed the extent to which opportunities for synergies and enhanced cooperation between GPSF and other GAC development and humanitarian programs have been leveraged.
Based on the evaluation findings and conclusions, recommendations are made with regard to identified areas for improvement.
3.0 Key considerations
Over the past five years, START and GPSF have operated under a number of authorities and temporary extensions, resulting in planning and programming challenges and interruptions in the implementation of their respective mandates. For example, until March 31, 2013, GPSF was guided by the 2008 TB submission and related Terms and Conditions (Ts&Cs). From April 2013 to September 2014, START/GPSF operated under two short-term funding extensions, which prevented program staff from making long-term planning commitments and in some cases, impacted the thematic scope and duration of implemented projects. The 2014 TB Submission ensured that program authorities would extend until March 31, 2016.
Another consideration for the evaluation was the fact that programming under GPSF is mainly delivered in fragile and conflict-affected states, with volatile security environments, making the identification of evolving needs and designing respective rapid response options to these needs more challenging. Direct monitoring of project implementation in some countries has also been difficult or impossible for safety and security reasons.
4.0 Evaluation approach & methodology
This evaluation follows the 2009 Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation and is conducted along the five core evaluation issues and questions which are aligned to data sources and analytical approaches defined in the evaluation matrix.
A mixed methodological approach and a variety of techniques were employed for the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. In-person and telephone interviews were conducted with over 190 key international and domestic stakeholders. ZIE evaluators did field visits to nine countries in South East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US which allowed for in-person interviews with program implementers and beneficiaries, as well as for direct observations of achieved outcomes in some cases. An extensive document review was used to complement the interviews with evidence on the way activities and projects are planned, governed, implemented and documented, and the extent to which results and outcomes are being tracked and reported. A more detailed desk review of a sample of 84 projects, selected from the 390 (n=390) START/GPSF projects implemented over the evaluation reference period, allowed for an in-depth analysis of the degree to which GPSF projects have achieved their expected outcomes, and the way these have been monitored, tracked, and reported.
The experience of like-minded countries in stabilization programming was researched and their best-practices used to complement the analysis and provide some benchmarks for comparing START’s and GPSF’s achievements. Thematic case studies on mine action and SGBV programming under START /GPSF and country case studies on Jordan, Ukraine and Colombia provided additional insight for the evaluation.
5.0 Limitations to methodology
A major challenge for the evaluation was the broad scope of GPSF programming. GPSF covers multiple themes and sectors, an array of programming activities, a wide geographic scope and works with multiple implementing partners which culminated in around 400 projects implemented during the evaluation reference period. The large breadth and scope of GPSF programming during the reference period and the short timelines to collect evidence from primary data sources constrained the ability of the evaluators to observe first-hand results from some major projects (e.g. no field visits were conducted to Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq and countries in Africa). To mitigate this limitation, the evaluation team conducted a desk review of a representative sample of projects that included GPSF programming activities across the major themes, sectors, countries and regions. In addition, field visits to four different regions and eleven countries provided direct observations of project results and good coverage of diverse areas of operation and intervention.Footnote 3
Another challenge was the evolution of START’s structure as a bureau and the roles and responsibilities of its divisions over the reference period. Not all structural changes and the rationale for these changes were recorded, which made it difficult to assess their actual impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of START/GPSF activities and projects. In order to mitigate against this challenge, the evaluation team conducted a review of best practices in security and stabilization programming, and met with representatives of like-minded partners to explore their policy approaches to stabilization, peace-building and democracy and the relevant institutional structures created to support policy and programming in these areas.
6.0 Evaluation findings: Relevance
6.1 Relevance Issue #1: Continued Need for the Program
Finding 1: Crises, both natural and human-inflicted, continue to contribute to regional and international instability which threatens directly and indirectly Canadians and Canadian interests.
The accelerated pace of globalization over the past several decades, made possible in large measure by the significant decline in the costs of transportation and dramatic advances in information technology, has increasingly eroded traditional state borders and created growing interdependence among states. The progressive breakdown of barriers between nations and peoples has, in turn, increased opportunities for the exchange of ideas, economic development, and travel to previously inaccessible places. In addition, advancements in technology have increased the access to information and empowered civil society on a global scale. Despite its multiple benefits, globalization has also proven to be a powerful destabilizing force in the world.
While not a cause of conflict in itself, globalization can intensify the social and economic drivers of conflict and greatly increase their complexity. More importantly, the growing interdependence of nations through global and financial trade markets and the increase in the movement of peoples means that instability and crises occurring in one state may have spillover effects in neighbouring countries leading to regional and international instability. The increasing use of social media can further accelerate the speed and reach of the diffusion effect, as most recently observed during the Arab Spring in 2011. Such instability, and the violence associated with it, is further compounded by other significant global trends including population growth, climate change, and global income inequality which have stressed critical infrastructure and rendered populations vulnerable to natural disasters.Footnote 4
Crises, both natural and human-inflicted, contribute to regional and international instability that threaten Canadians and Canadian interest both directly and indirectly. For instance, conflicts disrupt economic activities and adversely affect trade, especially for trade dependent countries such as Canada, by limiting access to foreign markets and destroying valuable resources. In terms of financial cost, the impact of violent conflict on the global economy is substantial: in 2015 the Global Peace IndexFootnote 5 estimated that U.S. $14.3 trillion was lost to the global economy, or 13.4 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), due to political instability and conflict. Conflict can also lead to the creation of failed states which provide a breeding ground for violent extremism and a safe haven for transnational terrorist groups.
Global security and conflict trends suggest that instability will continue to pose a threat in the near future as exemplified by a number of new and ongoing crises in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and the increase in the reach and scope of radical Islamist groups. With many of these threats originating in fragile and conflict-affected states, Canada, along with its allies, has a compelling reason to combat these threats at the source.
Finding 2: Responding to threats posed by fragile and conflict- affected states has emerged as a discrete domain of foreign policy with a set of established policy and programming structures, related principles, approaches and best practices.
There is growing international consensus that development, security and stability are deeply interconnected and mutually reinforcing concepts and that development goals and priorities cannot be achieved in the absence of a secure, legitimate and peaceful environment. The international community has united in recent years in the search for concerted and coordinated efforts to address the drivers of instability and conflict.Footnote 6 United Nations (UN) organizations have repeatedly emphasized that both financial and human costs associated with conflict prevention are less than those required to contain full-blown conflicts.
Building on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Fragile State Principles, which articulated best practices for fragile state engagement, the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State building declared in 2011 a New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States which set out five key peacebuilding and state building goals:
- Fostering inclusive politics
- Establishing security
- Increasing access to justice
- Generating employment and improving livelihoods
- Managing revenue and delivering services
Both the OECD Fragile State Principles and the New Deal emphasize the importance of building resilience in fragile and conflict-affected states and establishing benchmarks for effective programming.
There is also an observed relationship between conflict prevention and long-term development. Conflict prevention assists in creating a secure and stable environment for development efforts to flourish. Long-term development is essential for preserving and protecting gains made in preventing conflict relapse. The recently adopted 2030 Sustainable Development Goals explicitly acknowledge that sustained development cannot take place in the absence of peace and security. Recognizing that addressing the challenges of fragile and conflict-affected states requires a more holistic approach, a number of OECD countries such as Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.) have either established or further strengthened their stabilization capacities and related organizational and programming structures to address the specific challenges and threats arising from such states.
For instance, the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in the U.S.’ State Department has a similar mission to that of START, namely “… to advance national security by working with partners to break cycles of violent conflict, strengthen civilian security, and mitigate crises in priority countries by providing analysis, strategic planning, and on-the-ground operations.”Footnote 7 Likewise, the U.K. has a Stabilisation Unit that coordinates government action in fragile and conflict-affected states.Footnote 8 Some of these initiatives are discussed below in this evaluation report, either for comparison of international policies and approaches, or for identification of good practices and lessons learned.
While each of the above-mentioned stabilization offices is configured differently, they all share certain common characteristics. They consolidate policy leadership, including fragile state and conflict analysis and whole-of-government coordination; maintain sources of funding dedicated to support the work of these offices/organizational structures; have flexible funding authorities to support short-term, rapid responses to crises, as well as longer-term stabilization goals; and retain the capacity to mobilize civilian experts for deployments from both the public and private sectors to support stabilization work.
Finding 3: The assumptions informing the creation of START and GPSF remain valid. There is a clear and compelling rationale for the continued existence of an organization/program like START and the provision of funds through a mechanism like GPSF that ensures whole-of-government response to international crises, complex emergencies, peacekeeping and stabilization needs in fragile and conflict-affected states.
Prior to the creation of START, policy and programming in fragile and conflict-affected states were fragmented between different GC departments and agencies. Mechanisms in support of whole-of-government coordination in response to crisis (natural and human-inflicted) were formed on an ad hoc basis to address a particular event which did not allow for pre-crisis analysis or prevention. This deficit called for the development of a standing capacity to monitor crisis situations, plan for and rapidly deliver integrated policy and programming responses, drawing upon the collective and coordinated contributions of government departments. START was the GC’s answer to that institutional deficit.
GPSF, for its part, was created “to fill a funding gap” within the GC by providing dedicated resources to support timely activities for countries at risk of conflict or in conflict, but which were not within the mandate or responsibility of DND, Canada’s ODA Program, and/or OGDs with capacities relevant to fragile state programming. GPSF performs two key functions consistent with international best practices with respect to fragile and conflict-affected state engagement: first, GPSF provides the GC with a rapid disbursement funding instrument which did not exist prior to its creation and; second, GPSF provides the GC with a funding instrument to effect whole-of-government resource mobilization, enabling OGDs to contribute their unique knowledge and skills to conflict prevention, post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts.
The assumptions informing the creation of START and GPSF, therefore, remain valid. Since their creation, START and GPSF have demonstrated their relevance to addressing the needs of states in crisis, as evidenced by START’s role in:
- Mobilizing the resources of OGDs and coordinating their efforts in response to natural disasters, e.g. the earthquakes in Haiti (2010), New Zealand (2011), and Nepal (2015), as well as the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2014) and Typhoon Etau in Japan (2015), which precipitated the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant;
- Supporting security system reform (SSR) in Afghanistan, Haiti, Colombia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Rwanda, the West Bank and Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine;
- Supporting transitional justice and reconciliation in Colombia, Mali, Somalia, Cambodia and Lebanon;
- Supporting democratic governance institutions and civil society (including legislatures and political party systems, electoral processes, human rights and rule of law, independent media, etc.) in Burma, Moldova, Egypt, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Kenya, Ukraine; and
- Supporting mine action in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Libya, Jordan, South Sudan and Ukraine.
With the increase in the number of fragile states around the world in conflict or at risk of falling into conflict, the rationale for START and GPSF continues to be compelling.
6.2 Relevance Issue #2: Alignment with Government Priorities
Finding 4: START’s policies, programs and initiatives are consistent with and supportive of GC priorities and GAC strategic outcomes; however, responding to these overall priorities has sometimes led START to program in areas only tangentially related to its specific mandate.
Addressing the threats to Canadian interests, and those of Canada’s allies, posed by fragile and conflict-affected states has been a priority for the GC throughout the evaluation reference period. In the GAC 2014-2015 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), under foreign policy priority #4 - “Promote democracy and respect for human rights and contribute to effective international security and global governance” – it is stated that “freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are central to Canadian foreign policy and national security, and Canada will continue to advance these values in key regions such as the Americas and in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine and Burma”.
START continues to align with the GC’s peace and security priorities and advances its foreign policy goal of reasserting Canada’s leadership in the world. This priority is articulated in both the December 4, 2015 Speech from the Throne and the Prime Minister’s 2015 mandate letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Advancing security continues to be a thematic priority of Canada’s International Assistance Envelope (IAE). As such, START and GPSF are mandated to support GAC’s policy and programming in the IAE’s “security and stability” and “advancing democracy” pillars, and to permit Canada to address global challenges that threaten security and prosperity, through effective action in crisis situations, including the promotion of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and religious freedom.
START and GPSF have been highly responsive to both the geographic and thematic priorities of the government, evidenced by the realignment of committed funds to emerging crises in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and North Africa.
- The graph represents the number of new START/GPSF project by geographic region between 2010/11 and 2015/16 (up to August 31st).
- Africa: 2010/11: 37, 2011/12: 15, 2012/13: 13, 2013/14: 14, 2014/15: 4, 2015/16: 5
- Asia: 2010/11: 25, 2011/12: 13, 2012/13: 16, 2013/14: 15, 2014/15: 13, 2015/16: 5
- Eastern Europe and FSU: 2010/11: 2, 2011/12: 3, 2012/13: 6, 2013/14: 5, 2014/15: 14, 2015/16: 8
- Global: 2010/11: 30, 2011/12: 5, 2012/13: 6, 2013/14: 1, 2014/15: 3, 2015/16: 1
- Latin America and Caribbean: 2010/11: 22, 2011/12 12, 2012/13: 15, 2013/14: 8, 2014/15: 1, 2015/16: 4
- Middle East: 2010/11: 15, 2011/12: 4, 2012/13: 11, 2013/14: 19, 2014/15: 8, 2015/16: 12
Over the evaluation reference period, START implemented projects in some countries that have not been in conflict or at risk of conflict, nor even fragile by international standards (e.g. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Moldova, Paraguay etc.), while at the same time reducing programming in other countries and regions (i.e. East and West Africa) seriously affected by instability and conflict. During the same period, START also programmed in domains such as counter-terrorism, anti-crime, humanitarian mine action, social/welfare services, reproductive health care, medical services, human rights, which, though tangentially related to its mandate, fall within the purview of other departmental programs, such as the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP), the Counter Terrorism Capacity Building Program (CTCBP) or GAC’s ODA Program, to name a few.
Some stakeholders expressed concerns with START implementing projects that could be perceived as humanitarian aid and potentially undermine the political neutrality of humanitarian initiatives. Specific examples referred to GPSF-funded projects for refugee camps in Jordan.
Thus, while START and GPSF have been consistent with and supportive of the GC’s international security agenda and its geographic and thematic priorities, aligning programming with these broader priorities has occasionally led START and GPSF to deviate from their core areas of focus and competence.
6.3 Relevance Issue #3: Consistency with Federal Roles and Responsibilities
Finding 5: International security is the responsibility of the federal government, and GAC is the logical institutional home for START and GPSF.
As remarked in the preceding finding, addressing international security challenges to Canada and its allies is one of GAC’s key strategic priorities. In the latest iteration of the Department’s mandate letters, the GC commits GAC, to “working with the Minister of National Defence, to increase Canada’s support for United Nations peace operations and its mediation, conflict prevention, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.” Thus, while other departments also respond to threats to Canadian and international security interests, GAC has the lead role in shaping and implementing policy and programming intended to address those threats.
Despite the challenges noted in the preceding findings, GAC remains the only department with the requisite authority and capacity to monitor crisis situations, plan for and rapidly deliver integrated policy and programming responses to crisis situations, drawing upon the collective contributions of OGDs in a coordinated fashion. More specifically, with its network of missions abroad, GAC is uniquely positioned within the GC to provide whole-of-government operational support and coordination to Canadian interventions in response to international crises. These factors considered, GAC remains the logical departmental home for START and GPSF.
7.0 Evaluation findings: Performance
7.1 Achievement of Expected Outcomes
The following sections will focus on the performance of START and GPSF, and the factors that have contributed to, or prevented the achievement of expected program results, such as program design, project monitoring, measuring and reporting on results.
7.1.1 Measurement of Immediate and Intermediate Results
Finding 6: START has made progress towards achieving outputs and immediate outcomes at the project level; however, it lacks a methodology to systematically track and measure project achievements and their contribution to program-level outcomes.
Direct observations and evidence collected during the field visits indicated that most projects have achieved their immediate and intermediate outcomes, however, there was little or no reporting on how these project results have contributed or are contributing to the overall program-level outcomes. For projects that were not visited, information was collected through a desk review of the project sample. The analysis and summary of results was challenging due to a number of factors, such as, but not limited to, the lack of:
- annual reports on program achievements by theme, region or country produced after 2012;
- a systematic collection and recording of lessons learned and good practices from implemented projects;
- strategic planning frameworks to inform programming in priority areas and/or countries, which has led to project results being reported on an anecdotal or ad hoc basis without a link to the higher order outcomes at the program level.
The detailed desk review of the project sample showed that about two-thirds (57 out of 84) of the projects demonstrated some progress toward immediate outcomes. Of the remaining projects, 14 were still ongoing at the time of review and therefore had not yet achieved outcomes, and 13 projects did not have final reports and/or relevant performance data available.
A number of limitations were considered in the process of assessing the project and program-level results based on the sample, such as:
- Delays in the approval process after 2011 made it harder for START to respond in a timely way to identified needs and to support longer-term projects.
- Short-term renewals of spending authorities and lack of multi-year funding after 2013 prevented the program from implementing longer-term projects. Most projects implemented under short time frames (less than one year) could not demonstrate or report on achievement of intermediate outcomes.
- Outcomes labeled as “intermediate” in some of the reports were actually immediate-level results.
- Intermediate outcomes as presented in the START logic model often overlapped. For example, by partnering with UN agencies and international organizations to build and strengthen the capacity of national governments in affected states (Outcome 1), START also contributes to strengthening national and international frameworks and their capacity to respond to crises (Outcome 4).
- Many projects contributed to more than one outcome; however, that was seldom cross-referenced in the results reporting sections
- For a number of projects, information has been mechanically entered in the database to allow for project closing or for moving the project to the next stage, e.g., achieved outcomes were often just a copy-and-paste of the planned outcomes without any supporting qualitative or quantitative data.
- In the cases when outcomes were affected by multiple external actors and factors, results could not solely be attributed to GPSF projects, and were not assessed through a contribution analysis.
- Many projects did not have gender-related results and indicators, or sex-disaggregated data.
- There were no specific codes, classifications or parameters for “SGBV” projects; therefore it was hard to measure START’s contribution to reducing sexual violence in conflict or other related outcomes.
In order to measure outcomes achieved by START at the program level, the evaluation grouped the projects under the outcomes that were identified. Aggregated results were assessed under each of the four “Results Stories” defined in the START logic model and summarized in the table below.
|Ultimate Outcome||Effective Stabilization and reconstruction in affected states|
|Intermediate Outcomes||Strengthened institutions and civil society in affected states (Results story #1)||Strengthened GC responses to crisis situations (Results story #2)||Strengthened international responses to specific crisis situations (Results story #3)||Strengthened international frameworks in use for addressing crisis situations (Results story #4)|
|Immediate Outcomes||Enhanced institutional and civil capacity in affected areas||Enhanced capacity for GC responses||Enhanced capacity for international responses to specific crisis situations||International agreements on crisis response frameworks|
7.1.2 Intermediate Outcome #1: Strengthened Institutions and Civil Society in Affected States
Finding 7: START projects have contributed to increased capacity of state institutions and civil society organizations to address the drivers of instability, manage conflict and deliver services that help restore stability and security in a number of fragile and conflict-affected states.
Projects aimed at strengthening institutions and civil society in conflict-affected states accounted for the largest share of GPSF disbursements over the evaluation period. Though implemented by third-party delivery organizations, state institutions were the primary beneficiaries of GPSF programming, which, for the purpose of results assessment, were loosely grouped under the three conventional branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. Additionally, for reporting purposes, achieved results were grouped under three broad thematic headings: i) advancing democracy and peacebuilding; ii) security systems management; and iii) judiciary, transitional justice and reconciliation.
i) Advancing Democracy and Peacebuilding: Increased capacity of legislatures, political parties and civil society organizations
GPSF projects classified under this theme aimed at strengthening the capacity and engagement of legislatures, political parties and civil society organizations. Projects broadly aligned with the legislative branch of government typically focussed on promulgating the merits of participatory and democratic forms of governance and on strengthening the institutional mechanisms supporting democracy. In the taxonomy of START, such projects were categorized under a number of sectors: “Democratic Participation and Civil Society“; “Legislation and Political Parties”; “Civilian Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention and Resolution”; “Decentralization Support to Sub-National Governments”; “Media and Free Flow of Information,” and “Elections.” Forms of assistance and activities commonly included curriculum development, hosting of workshops, training, and provision of material support for elections. START also funded initiatives designed to facilitate citizen participation in electoral processes and to build local monitoring capacity. The specific results achieved, based on the project review, are summarized as follows:
- Increased understanding of democratic forms of governance, such as federalism and decentralization: GPSF projects provided training on federalism (Burma, South Sudan), decentralized service delivery and citizen participation in local governance (Tunisia), which has led to increased ability of state institutions to address the diverse interests of sub-national groups through peaceful negotiations. A good example is the Forum of Federations’ (FoF) project in Burma, funded by GPSF, which delivered federalism training across Burma for representatives of ethnic political parties running for seats in the national parliament. The purpose of the training was to help demystify and legitimize the concept of federalism, particularly among the governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Even though results achieved could not be solely attributed to START’s funding, feedback received during the evaluation site visits indicated that Canada’s projects have contributed to a shift in the understanding of federalism. Federalism in Burma, which has been until recently associated with ethnic division and secessionist movements, is now being seen more as a toolbox that could yield options to help resolve Burma’s six decades of conflict between the central government and ethnic armed groups.
Even though many countries still need substantial assistance in their transition to a functioning democracy, GPSF-funded projects could be credited for contributing to results such as:
- Increased capacity of political parties to participate in elections and promote awareness of citizen rights (e.g. in Burma, Tunisia, Moldova, etc.).
- Improved capacity of local observers and civil society to monitor elections in countries such as Afghanistan, Egypt, Moldova, Colombia, Tunisia and Ukraine.
- Improved capacity of journalists to cover elections and reflect issues of public interest (e.g. Egypt)
- Increased legitimacy of electoral processes and increased public awareness of voter access rights through improved voter registry and identification of instances of fraud (e.g., in Ukraine).
While the impact of START’s interventions on the course of political events in targeted countries was difficult to assess and attribute to GPSF projects alone, the evaluation found sufficient evidence indicating that, at the very least, they have contributed to a greater awareness and understanding among beneficiaries of the merits of democratic governance. For example, Tunisia, Burma and Ukraine have all demonstrated some success in transitioning to democratic rule, evidenced by an improvement in their election process and/or duly elected functional parliaments.
ii) Security System Management: Strengthened capacity of state and civil society institutions in security systems management.
Over the evaluation reference period, START has contributed to strengthening the capacity of state institutions and civil society in security system management. A considerable amount of GPSF resources have been directed to strengthen the capacity of state institutions responsible for security, namely the police, corrections, and the military. Results achieved under this intermediate outcome are summarized as follows:
- Increased ability of the national police to enforce the law and establish security in a professional way that respects human rights: Several GPSF projects in Haiti provided equipment and training to help the National Police track and investigate crimes, including SGBV-related cases. Other projects strengthened police capacity to plan and coordinate security operations (South Sudan, West Bank) and improve security in refugee camps (Jordan). START’s contributions to LOTFA helped improve financial management, operational capacity, institutional development and gender mainstreaming in the national police force. One of the most successful projects, which received high recognition by Canada’s allies, was START’s $5 million contribution to the large-scale International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), jointly implemented with the U.S. State Department, aimed at reforming the Ukrainian police force through the provision of training and equipment. The program resulted in improved capacity to deliver police patrol services according to international standards on human rights and rule of law; increased presence and effectiveness of police patrols through the deployment of hundreds of new officers in five cities (by March 2016); and increased public confidence in the police patrol service.
- Improved conditions and capacity of prison officers: Even though START’s support to the corrections system declined over the evaluation period, a GPSF project in Afghanistan was successful in providing materials and equipment to improve the conditions in a Kandahar prison. Another project in Sudan provided administrators and guards with necessary training and technical assistance to manage correctional facilities in accordance with international standards.
- Improved operational capacity of the military: Beyond multilateral peace operations, support to the military was not a conventional area for START programming. However, during the evaluation period, START’s material support to the military in Jordan and Ukraine increased significantly. For example, since 2012, GPSF has committed over $24 million to support key security institutions such as the armed forces and gendarmerie in Jordan. GPSF also contributed to strengthening the military/police capacity to respond to the refugee crisis in Jordan. One project provided material support to enable the military to strengthen border crossing patrols and ensure safe transportation for Syrian refugees to registration centres. Another project helped increase security for refugees and aid workers in camps by improving police operations (i.e. presence and response time) through the provision of equipment and infrastructure. As a result of support from START and other donors, there have been no security incidents at the Za’atari camp in Jordan for over a year.
In partnership with DND, GPSF also provided $8.9 million in funding for four projects to deliver material support to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Stakeholders reported that as a result of the equipment and technical assistance to set up a field hospital and engage in demining, the provision of critical treatment has become faster and has increased the survivability of injured persons.
- Strengthened demining capacity and increased civilian safety: Mine action was historically a priority for the GC, as evidenced by the launch of the Ottawa Process in 1996 that culminated in the creation of the Mine Ban Treaty; however, Canada’s leadership in this area declined over the evaluation period due to inconsistent funding and shifting priorities. The evaluation sample included four demining projects that provided equipment, technical assistance and training to support UN and humanitarian demining efforts in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Colombia. For example, START provided over $2.5 million for humanitarian demining projects in Colombia implemented by the Organization of American States (OAS) Comprehensive Action against Anti-personnel Mines (AICMA). According to stakeholders, these projects achieved significant results including: strengthened capacity of 132 humanitarian de-miners; improved compliance with international practices and standards; greater community awareness about mine risks; reduced number of mine-related casualties; safer access to agricultural land; and increased access to government services for 66 mine victims.
The evaluation team also had an opportunity to directly observe the effectiveness of some demining projects implemented over the past two years in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Two distinct types of clearance were reviewed during the site visits: unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos and Vietnam, and anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in Cambodia. A key observation from the mine action programming reviewed in Southeast Asia (SEA) was the positive profile that Canada has gained by assisting clearance activities in the region and the expressed gratitude by government representatives and partners in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam for Canada’s contributions. Relative to other programming fields, the objectives and results of mine action programs were straightforward and verifiable in numbers (e.g. explosive remnants of war (ERW) removed / land released etc.). START partners and implementers demonstrated a high degree of efficiency and professionalism, all incorporating a highly regimented set of criteria and processes in their day-to-day work while continually increasing the efficiency of land clearance through innovations in technical and non-technical surveys.
- Increased effectiveness in the area of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR): In the past, START had made some significant contributions in the area of DDR (primarily in South Sudan, DRC, Mali and Colombia); however except for Colombia, funding for DDR activities declined over the evaluation period START’s efforts and contributions to DDR remained consistent only in Colombia. START’s support for DDR in Colombia began in 2004 through the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP) and GPSF-funded projects have since contributed to better monitoring of the demobilization process, strengthened capacity of national/local institutions, and improved reintegration services such as education for ex-combatants.
While all individual projects quoted above were found to be successful, overall programming under the Security Systems Management theme has been uneven during the evaluation reference period, with marked declines in the level of engagement in the areas of corrections, mine action and DDR.
iii) Judiciary, transitional justice and reconciliation: Increased capacity and effectiveness of judiciary and transitional justice mechanisms
Over the evaluation reference period, START allocated considerable resources in support of the judiciary. These resources were mainly used to strengthen the prosecutorial arm of the judiciary and to increase public access for particularly vulnerable groups, such as women and children, to the justice system. The forms of assistance and activities encompassed technical assistance, training, material support and infrastructure development, all in support of ensuring access to transitional justice mechanisms (criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations) to address the legacy of human rights abuses.
Some of the results gleaned from the project review included:
- Strengthened capacity of judicial systems to document, investigate and prosecute human rights abuses and war crimes: Examples of GPSF contributions included an IOM project to strengthen the capacity of military justice to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes in the Congo, and a partnership with the U.S. State Department to develop an evidentiary database in Syria for a future transitional justice process. GPSF also funded a few projects implemented by UN agencies in Guatemala that developed a forensic database and trained judges/prosecutors to use DNA evidence in war-crimes trials. One project in Guatemala supported the development of records and a protocol to detect cases of violence against children, which led to a 500% increase in arrests of perpetrators, a 200% increase in the number of charges laid, and a decrease in judicial delays from 10 months to 20 days.
- Increased capacity to investigate and prosecute SGBV-related crimes: During the evaluation period, GPSF provided over $28.7 million to 45 SGBV-related projects in all regions, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. The evaluation sample included projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Libya and Sudan. The projects contributed to achieving the following results: increased capacity of the police and military in CAR, DRC and the Sudan to investigate and prosecute cases of SGBV; strengthened capacity of civil society organizations to defend victims’ rights; increased legal assistance and access to services for victims; and greater public awareness of sexual violence in conflict.
- Increased judicial independence and accountability: Experts from Canada’s DoJ were deployed to the Maldives as part of a broader UN initiative to strengthen judicial capacity and reduce corruption. The Maldives implemented 198 of 258 recommendations by the UN on judicial reform.
- Increased access to justice and services for victims, particularly vulnerable groups such as women and children: Several GPSF projects supported increased capacity and effectiveness of the transitional justice process in Colombia. For example, GPSF contributed $2.7 million to UNDP’s Transitional Justice Fund and $4.5 million to OAS- MAPP projects. Through those projects, GPSF contributed to: increased capacity of local and national government institutions for victims’ rights and reparations; strengthened national legislation, policies and systems on transitional justice including land restitution and victims’ rights; improved conflict resolution and reconciliation mechanisms at the local and national levels (plans, truth commissions, historical memory etc.) GPSF has also been a long-standing contributor to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and has supported victims’ participation in legal proceedings related to the 2005 assassination of the then Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.
These examples are indicative of the marked focus on victim assistance and on strengthening the capacity of the judiciary to collect evidence in support of criminal prosecutions related to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Within the context of a formal process of transitional justice, as in the case of Colombia, such assistance clearly contributes to post-conflict stabilization. For many other projects, however, the evaluation found the connection to conflict prevention and reconstruction more tenuous.
7.1.3 Intermediate Outcome Two: Strengthened Government of Canada Crisis Response
Finding 8: START has developed strategic and operational tools and procedures to support timely responses to natural disasters and complex emergencies; however, the GC’s response to emerging and protracted crises has been uneven over the past five years.
Over the last ten years, START has acquired significant experience and in-house capacity to program in fragile and conflict-affected states, evidenced by the development of a range of tools to support programming. START’s performance in delivering on its mandate has been, however, uneven due to a variety of reasons, For the purpose of reporting on START’s contribution to strategic Outcome Two, the evaluation reviewed the measures taken to improve Canada’s readiness to respond to crises, both natural and human-inflicted.
Given START’s whole-of-government mandate, the evaluation sample included examples of START’s contribution to enhanced OGD capacity to respond to crises. The program did not have, however, indicators to measure the expected intermediate outcomes from these activities and projects. Possible indicators could have included: improvements in the GC response time to natural disaster; more efficient use of GC resources; increased coordination among OGDs, etc. While such indicators did not exist or were not systematically tracked, the evaluation collected anecdotal evidence from stakeholders’ feedback and direct observations, showing that START has made progress toward Outcome Two. Specific results gleaned from the analysis of relevant projects and the case studies are highlighted below:
i) Improved coordination and effectiveness of Canada’s crisis response
- Strengthened GC operational capacity to respond quickly to immediate crises including natural disasters. Since its inception, IRH has been guided by a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which clearly document the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in response to a crisis situation. Being responsible for coordinating Canada’s whole-of-government response to natural disasters, IRH has been actively involved in coordinating the provision of funding for the deployment of Canadian civilian technical and humanitarian experts, such as epidemiologists from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), disaster victim identification from the RCMP, humanitarian experts and health care specialists from Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (e.g. CANADEM, the Red Cross); support for the Canadian Armed Forces Assets (e.g. tactical airlift, naval assets, Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART); cash contributions for UN emergency appeals; emergency relief stocks; rapid deployment of Emergency Response Units (field hospitals, health units) through the Canadian Red Cross; crisis pool funding and Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) support for disaster relief.
During the evaluation period, IRH led the GC response to several major crises (e.g., earthquakes in Haiti, Nepal and Chile; hurricanes in Japan and the Philippines). The 2012 OECD-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Peer Review of Canada’s ODA program noted its “excellent cross-government coordination, extensive rapid response toolbox and strong track record as a constructive partner within the humanitarian community.” (For more detail on START’s coordination with OGDs, see the Efficiency and Effectiveness section of this report.) This capacity did not exist prior to the creation of START and serves as compelling evidence of START’s success in setting up a solid whole-of-government system to respond to catastrophic natural disasters.
ii) Increased capacity and engagement of OGD partners in Canada’s crisis response.
- Increased capacity of several OGDs to deploy experts abroad. Through Vote 1 funding, START had arrangements with several OGDs to strengthen their capacity to contribute to fragile state programming. However, Vote 1 funding dropped significantly over the evaluation period from $31 million in 2010/11 to $17 million in 2014/15 (i.e. 46%), which resulted in decreased OGDs’ engagement in START programming. The CPA authorized deployments also experienced a major decline (63%) from a high of 260 deployments in 2011/12 to 96 in 2014/15. This trend of a gradual decline in START’s level of engagement with OGDs may have reduced opportunities to strengthen OGDs’ capacity to contribute to Canada’s stabilization missions abroad. Nevertheless, START has continued to partner with OGDs, albeit at a reduced level, on specific projects. For example, GPSF funding has enabled the deployment of Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) experts to improve the customs administration and crossing facility at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, as well as the deployment of experts from Canada’s Department of Justice (DoJ) to the Maldives as part of a UN program to strengthen judicial capacity and reduce corruption.
- Increased involvement of Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) in supplying goods and services to foreign recipients. The evaluation sample included a few projects through which CCC provided Canadian materials, equipment and training to support peace operations in several countries (Tanzania, Sudan, DRC, Somalia, Jordan and Ukraine).
iii) Increased engagement of Canadian civil society organizations in crisis response.
Although START is not expressly mandated to strengthen the capacity of the Canadian NGO community to contribute to Canada’s response to crisis situations, Canadian NGOs have nonetheless played an important role in program delivery. Through partnerships with START, some Canadian NGOs (charitable organizations, academic institutions and private sector consultancies) have acquired valuable experience, knowledge and skills, which in turn have significantly enhanced Canada’s capacity to respond to crises. Many of these organizations have also demonstrated an ability to deliver programs with a high degree of efficiency and economy. This said, the evaluation observed a dramatic decline (82%) in the value of committed funds to Canadian NGOs during the evaluation reference period, dropping from $26.4 million in 2010/11 to $4 million in 2014/15. Some of the achieved results, as demonstrated by the projects in the evaluation sample and witnessed during site visits, are summarized as follows:
- Increased rapid deployment of Canadian experts in peace and security. Through CANADEM, START supported the rapid deployment of 11 Canadian experts to establish a legal framework for foreign investment in Libya; and over 150 electoral observers to Ukraine.
- Greater involvement of Canadian NGOs in building civil society and state capacity. For example, the Forum of Federations implemented START projects to support federalism as a governance model in Burma; a constitutional review in South Sudan; and decentralized service delivery in Tunisia.
- Fostered engagement of Canadian academic community and private firms. The University of Montreal, for example, gave support and training to the African Union and Communauté Economique des Etas de l’Afrique, while Agriteam Canada provided technical assistance for police reform in Ukraine.
7.1.4 Intermediate Outcome Three: Strengthened International Responses to Specific Crisis Situations
Finding 9: While START’s support to international institutions (multilateral organizations and international NGOs) continues to constitute the largest share of program disbursements, the overall level of support declined over the evaluation reference period, potentially affecting Canada’s reputation as a reliable partner of choice.
GPSF commitments to multilateral organizations as a proportion of funds provided to other recipient types increased significantly (24%) during the evaluation period, accounting for roughly 46% of the total committed funds, however the actual number of multilateral organizations in receipt of such funds decreased, i.e. fewer organizations received more funding. The support to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) accounted on average for 17% of total committed funds over the evaluation reference period. Together, over two-thirds of START programing has been channeled through these two types of recipients between 2010 and 2015.
Evidence collected for this evaluation indicates that the provision of funds and other resources (material and technical) to START’s implementing partners has not only enhanced their capacity to address the needs of targeted beneficiaries, but has also contributed to strengthening the capacity of the international community as a whole to respond to crises. While START has funded a large number of projects aimed at strengthening the institutional capacity of program delivery organizations, the majority of these projects were also designed to address the capacity needs of specific state institutions, civil society organizations and populations adversely affected by state fragility, societal instability and conflict. As such, the expected outcome of “enhanced capacity of partners in program delivery” is, in most cases, incidental to the main purpose of the vast majority of START’s projects.
Specific results achieved under Outcome Three are summarized below:
i) Enhanced capacity of multilateral organizations to deliver on their mandates.
- Strengthened international mechanisms to promote accountability for human rights abuses: START contributed to Canada’s active support of international courts and tribunals, including the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the former International Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). START also supported the effective implementation of the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) implemented through Watchlist, to improve the protection of children and to hold perpetrators of violations against them accountable.
- Increased capacity of UN missions to support DDR: START’s support to the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) helped broker a negotiated settlement to the conflict, promote the DDR process, provide supplies to ex-combatants, and monitor security in affected areas.
- Strengthened regional capacity to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, primarily in Africa. Canada was the first country to fund the African Union-led mission to prevent sectarian violence in the CAR.
- Improved capacity of European organizations to address security issues in Mali and Ukraine. For example, over the evaluation reference period, GPSF provided $5.8 million in programming through multilateral organizations and INGOs in Ukraine. START was a major contributor to two trust funds that have contributed to strengthening NATO’s technical capacity to support the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. More specifically, two GPSF projects in Ukraine fostered the capacity of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to tackle security issues such as arms control, border management and policing. The first project deployed a team of experts who recommended steps to address human rights concerns, which the Ukraine government accepted. The second project helped improve the capacity of the European monitoring mission to ensure compliance with the ceasefire agreement through the provision of security equipment. According to stakeholders, the support from Canada and other donors has helped increase coordination among OSCE member states, reduce duplication and promote adherence to international good practices.
- Improved policy and analysis to strengthen multilateral response through partnerships with international NGOs. Several GPSF projects funded INGOs that directly supported the multilateral system. For example, the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) provided recommendations to improve international crisis response. A GPSF project with the Centre on International Cooperation (CIC) aimed to strengthen the capacity of the UN and member states in policy development and dialogue on key security and development issues.
- Increased technical capacity and credibility of OAS mechanisms to support DDR, demining and conflict resolution in Colombia. GPSF provided strategic seed funding to establish two key OAS agencies, AICMA and MAPP, in Colombia and continued supporting them for over ten years. That longer-term funding from Canada (albeit approved on an annual basis) and the US helped AICMA and MAPP to develop their technical skills, knowledge and tools related to humanitarian demining, DDR and transitional justice; sustain field operations in Colombia; build credibility with the Colombian government and affected communities; and leverage support from other donors. “Canada’s [seed funding of $1 million] kick-started international support for the OAS-MAPP and helped to cement its credibility. It was a catalytic move that helped firm up support among other donors.”
ii) Increased capacity of international NGOs to respond to crises.
- Increased international capacity to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Several GPSF projects in the evaluation sample contributed to building the capacity of INGOs and the UN system to investigate war crimes. For example, GPSF helped the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) improve and expand its training for international investigators of war crimes. GPSF also played an important role in establishing and sustaining Justice Rapid Response (JRR). GPSF funding helped JRR build its capacity to rapidly deploy over 530 international experts to investigate and prosecute human rights abuses, and to train national specialists in many countries around the world.
- Increased capacity and awareness to investigate SGBV-related crimes. GPSF projects contributed to improved international capacity to address SGBV-related crimes. Through GPSF projects in Colombia, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) expanded its experience and knowledge, which enabled it to develop SGBV as a core competence in its global programming. With GPSF support through JRR, UN Women developed a roster of over 135 gender experts to investigate SGBV in conflict-affected areas. Most of the experts are women who now play an active role in international investigations and commissions. According to UN Women, GPSF helped “to open space for the participation of women in the investigation of war crimes”.
In sum, multilateral organizations continue to constitute an important implementing partner for START. By partnering with these organizations, START has contributed to building their capacity to respond to specific international crises. Further, INGOs perform an instrumental role in supporting the implementation of various elements of multilateral missions and constitute an important aspect of the international community’s overall capacity to respond to specific crises. START’s support to such INGOs in program delivery has not only augmented their capacity to contribute to multilateral missions, but has also contributed to increased capacity of the international community at large to respond to crises.
This being said, the evaluation observed a decline in the level of engagement with multilateral organizations and INGOs during the evaluation reference period. This decline was, in some theatres of intervention such as Haiti and Colombia, accompanied by a complete cessation of programming for two years, with programming only resuming in these countries in the lead-up to Canada’s participation in the Summit of the Americas in 2015. Such interruptions in programming, combined with uncertainties for program renewal and delays in project approvals, have adversely affected Canada’s reputation as a reliable partner and a partner of choice.
7.1.5 Intermediate Outcome Four: Strengthened International Frameworks for Addressing Crisis Situations
Finding 10: START has worked on a number of policies and frameworks related to strengthening the international response to crises, with its contribution to the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda being among the its major accomplishments.
START’s fourth outcome focuses on international frameworks that also contribute to the achievement of Outcome Three, i.e. “strengthened international response to crises.” While the previous section of this report highlighted START’s programming results in improving international operational capacity, this section focuses on START’s contribution to the broader GC policy dialogue and advocacy to strengthen international frameworks.
Historically, Canada has demonstrated strong policy leadership in multilateral fora on issues relevant to peace and stability. For example, Canada played an important role in developing the Ottawa Treaty (1996) to ban antipersonnel mines; pioneered work to highlight gender issues in conflict prevention which contributed to the adoption of United Nation Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) (2000); and supported the founding of the International Commission on Interventions and State Sovereignty (2001).
During the evaluation period specifically, Canada has been active in building upon the principles declared in UNSCR 1325, in promoting the preparation and adoption of several subsequent UN resolutions related to WPS. Canada’s National Action Plan (C-NAP) on WPS was launched in 2010 to implement UNSCR 1325. (See the SGBV case study for further information on C-NAP and the UN resolutions.) Canada was also a strong advocate to ban child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).
Beyond its support for UN resolutions, Canada took a leadership role in advancing international norms and standards on gender issues in conflict through policy dialogue in fora such as the G8. Canada also advocated the integration of a gender perspective in international peacekeeping missions.
Within the GC, START is the designated lead on the WPS agenda and as such, has played an important role in developing Canada’s positions and policies. Implementation of C-NAP is officially the responsibility of GAC, DND and the RCMP International Policing Department. START is the lead for the interdepartmental working group that monitors the implementation of C-NAP and prepares annual progress reports.
START’s specific contributions to Canada’s overall advocacy and policy dialogue to strengthen international frameworks that address crisis situations is summarized below.
i) Strengthened UN Resolutions and international standards related to SGBV.
- Strengthened UN Resolutions to address sexual violence in conflict: START contributed to enhancing the GC’s commitment to UN resolutions on WPS, which helped support the drafting and implementation of several international commitments related to SGBV. For example, Canada co-sponsored UNSCR 2122 (2013) to adopt stronger measures for women to participate in all phases of conflict prevention, resolution and peacekeeping.
- Enhanced UN framework on CEFM. START contributed to Canada’s policy leadership on CEFM, which included co-leadership of a 2014 UN resolution to enact and enforce laws to end CEFM, develop coordinated strategies, and protect the human rights of women and girls.
- Strengthened Canada’s commitment and capacity to implement UN Resolutions, which in turn reinforced international frameworks. As the leader of the interdepartmental working group responsible for C-NAP, START has contributed to improving Canada’s implementation of UNSCR 1325 on WPS. Promoting and monitoring C-NAP as a national tool contributed to the effectiveness of UNSCR 1325 at the international level.
- Increased inclusion and adoption of international standards on gender issues in conflict. START contributed to Canada’s leadership role in promoting the adoption of international norms and standards on gender issues in conflict. For example, Canada provided support to draft the 2013 G8 Declaration on the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict, and the International Protocol on the Documentation of Sexual Violence in Conflict.
ii) Increased integration of gender issues in international peacekeeping missions and humanitarian assistance.
- Increased inclusion of issues related to sexual violence and women’s participation in the mandate of UN and regional peacekeeping missions. Canada has engaged in policy dialogue with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to include women in peacekeeping missions. Canada has also advocated for the UN to incorporate gender-related issues in its mission mandates in several countries (DRC, Mali, Haiti and Afghanistan). For example, Canada worked actively to ensure that the renewed UN mandate in Haiti included language to increase the political participation of women; protect the rights of women and children (including SGBV); and improve response and access to justice for sexual assault victims.
- Greater participation of women in international peacekeeping missions. As head of the WPS group, START-IRP contributed to Canada’s leadership in advocating for increased female representation in UN peacekeeping forces.
- Increased inclusion of gender issues in UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolutions on humanitarian assistance. Canada was one of the countries that negotiated with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to include gender issues in a resolution on humanitarian assistance. The resolution encouraged members to ensure the full participation of women in decision-making; and prevent, investigate and prosecute SGBV crimes. Canada also promoted using a “gender marker” tool for assessing humanitarian projects.
iii) Strengthened international frameworks on other stabilization and security issues.
- Improved mechanisms to prevent mass genocide. START provided diplomatic and financial support to establish the UN Joint Office for the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. It also provided funding to pilot the UN’s Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes as an early warning tool and a vehicle for targeted assistance.
While these examples demonstrate START’s notable contribution to strengthening international frameworks and policies related to WPS, START’s contribution to the development of new international frameworks is less apparent. At the beginning of the evaluation period, START played a major role in establishing a few new international mechanisms such as the Office of the Special Advisers on Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect. However, after its initial funding, START provided no further support to these agencies.
Through IRP, START has undertaken research and developed several policy papers and frameworks to inform programming and engagement with multilateral partners (e.g. research on the interconnection between urbanization, violence and state fragility; a policy framework to counter illicit financial flows and corrupt practices that support conflict; and a policy framework to counter the trafficking of persons, in particular women and children, and the proceeds derived therefrom, which again can be used to support conflict) However, these research and policy products did not move beyond Bureau-level approval within GAC and therefore had limited impact on actual departmental policy and practice, and on engagement with external stakeholders.
In sum, although Canada has been a vocal advocate for institutional reform in the multilateral system’s approach to conflict, it has been less active in supporting initiatives that explore and test new approaches to programming in fragile and conflict-affected states. With the exception of its work on WPS, START has, over the evaluation reference period, achieved little by way of contributing to the development of new frameworks to address crises. Interlocutors and interviewees have attributed this mainly to the PIA process, the uncertainties related to the renewal of START’s funding authorities, as well as to the changing thematic priorities of the government. Interviews with partners and stakeholders indicated that the delays in project approvals may have affected Canada’s image and engagement for the support of fragile and conflict-affected states.
7.2 Performance: Demonstration of efficiency & economy
Finding 11: The 2009 Re-START initiative and the 2013 amalgamation of former CIDA and DFATD have led to changes in the mandates of START’s functional divisions, while also causing some ambiguities around the division of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities with regard to policy development, programming and response to humanitarian crises.
The purpose of the 2009 reorganization of START was to strengthen aspects of program delivery by separating the policy and programming functions, as well as to streamline the project review, approval and reporting processes through the institution of four divisions with distinct roles and responsibilities. The separation of policy from programming was expected to be beneficial for START, providing an opportunity for a stronger focus on each activity due to the different skills and expertise required.
The past five years have allowed for some observations of the extent to which Re-START has contributed to improved program efficiency. While the evaluation found well documented business processes and SOPs, feedback from program and project managers indicated continuing ambiguities regarding roles and responsibilities within the START bureau. These ambiguities were mostly attributed to the fact that policy, programming, and coordination needed to be divided thematically and functionally into three separate divisions based on the assumption that the three shops would plan, develop and monitor projects together.
According to interviewees, the idea was too optimistic and soon led to an overly compartmentalized division of labour. A number of external factors further prevented the effective collaboration between policy and programming, such as but not limited to high staff turn-over and the physical division (3rd and 4th floor) of the policy and project teams.
Over the past five years, the silo trend for policy and programming was further accentuated by the PIA process, which significantly impacted the guiding role of policy for START’s programming. For example, START’s Advisory Board (SAB) convened only intermittently during the evaluation reference period. It performed only a few of the roles nominally assigned to it, due to the PIA process, which short-circuited the overall strategic policy and program priority setting functions.
Following the amalgamation with former CIDA in 2013, START also had to adjust its role by seeking synergies and complementarities with development programs, while trying to preserve its quick response and security focus as a distinct programming capacity.
A number of trends and issues were identified for some divisions within START:
IRP was nominally charged with developing and coordinating policy around fragile states, conflict analysis, integrated international peacekeeping and peacebuilding initiatives, and providing guidance in support of START/IRG programming. Following the amalgamation, the role of IRP was expanded as the division became the departmental policy hub for all conflict and fragile state issues. During the period of directed programming and PIA restrictions (2011-2015), IRP could not execute its strategic planning role and policy support to the Program Division (IRG) for programming , and had therefore focused its efforts on department-wide priorities, such as GAC’s policy on fragility, conflict and violence prevention, women, peace and security. IRP became the coordinating unit for the peace and security aspect of the post-2015 UN Development Agenda, advising on the development plans for geographic programs. IRP also took over the lead on the New Deal for Fragile States and on INCAF, functions originally performed by ex-CIDA. IRP also engaged with some work on early and child forced marriage and SGBV to support IRG programming, but did not proceed with in-depth studies due to the existence of other policy leads on these programming themes.
IRP was also tasked with ensuring policy and programming coherence for all security programs. A Security Coherence Secretariat was established, however its role would have benefitted from a clearly articulated mandate, shared with the rest of the branch. While this limited its ability to support policy coherence, the Secretariat aggregated information and delivered analytical products in support of sound decision making at senior levels – particularly for Canada’s anti-ISIL efforts and early responses to the crises in Ukraine and Syria. While it had the potential to play a wider role, it was often interrupted by frequent staff turnover and the coordination of branch business products, e.g. tracking commitments, coordinating talking points and speeches, and corporate planning and reporting.
IRG was initially charged with administering projects under the GPSF’s three sub-programs (GBP, GPOP and GPSP); however these programs were no longer differentiated in terms of notional budget allocations in the 2014 TB submission. The 2014 GPSF “Programming Business Process Guidebook,” continued to differentiate among these programs, adding additional ambiguities with regard to the specific programming responsibilities within IRG. “IRG is organised along geographic lines: programming under the Global Peace and Security Program (GPSP) in Asia/Afghanistan, Americas and Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Each geographic team manages projects under the Global Peace Operations Program (GPOP); and the Glyn Berry Program (GBP) as appropriate.”Footnote 9 In the absence of country-level conflict analysis, IRG undertook some of this analysis on its own, albeit mostly at the sector-level. When programming directions were outside IRP’s responsibilities (e.g. democracy), IRG project officers had to seek policy direction and guidance from other centres of expertise outside START, such as the Foreign Policy Planning (POL) and Democracy (IOL) divisions.
IRC was charged with developing and supporting whole-of-government civilian deployments, including electoral monitors, as well as with providing strategic program and financial advice in managing GPSF, directing and coordinating the corporate responsibilities of the START Bureau. IRC also assumed responsibility for the CFLI program, even though IRG is largely responsible for programming. Although IRC has delivered on most of its corporate functions, the evaluation observed limited progress in the production of bureau-level annual reports after 2012. The integration of corporate and programming responsibilities within IRC was, however, seen as a departure from the conventional role of a secretariat for the bureau and the related challenge functions it is expected to perform.
IRH continued to deliver on its core mandate during the evaluation period, namely the development and implementation of Canada’s policy on international humanitarian affairs and the coordination of Canada’s responses to international humanitarian crises caused by both natural disasters and armed conflict. Following the amalgamation, however, there were some ambiguities around the division of roles and responsibilities for responding to humanitarian crises between START and MHD.
7.2.2 Priority Setting and Strategic Planning
Finding 12: Strategic planning within START has been affected by uncertainties related to the renewals of GPSF funding authorities, as well as by the PIA process introduced in 2011.
When first established in 2005, START had a strategic planning process in place. SAB was mandated to provide a forum for structured consultations on priority setting, policy development, strategic outcomes, planning, information exchange and sharing of lessons learned and good practices between departments actively engaged with crisis-affected and fragile states. SAB’s responsibilities also included the identification of priority countries on an annual basis. START was expected to prepare country strategic frameworks, in consultation with GAC’s geographic desks and other relevant intra- and extra-departmental stakeholders, including ex-CIDA. Until 2011, START also had a multi-year strategic framework and one-page “placemats for each of its thematic areas.
The multi-year strategic planning process and the development of country frameworks were set aside in 2011 following the institution of the PIA process, which required that every project be reviewed and approved by the minister’s office, often overriding any preliminary project analysis or justification made. As a result, programming became increasingly directed, which further reduced the scope for strategic planning. The role of SAB was also impacted: minutes from SAB meetings indicate that no major policy or programming decisions have been made by the Board during the evaluation reference period and no exchange of good practices or lessons learned have taken place after 2012.
The uncertainties related to the renewal of START and GPSF funding authorities also had a major impact on START’s strategic planning.
Colombia, for example, was one of the countries identified as a “perpetual” priority country since 2005. At the start of the evaluation period, Colombia had a Multi-Year Strategic Framework for 2009/13, with an estimated annual budget of $5 M. The Framework outlined the context, GPSF programming priorities and resource implications. A specially developed GPSF logic model Colombia guided the selection of projects and implementing partners. The Colombia program had also developed an annual placemat that provided a useful one-page snapshot of the country context, GPSF’s strategic objectives and focus for the FY, key issues, results achieved to date, ongoing and planned activities. However, START programming in Colombia was almost discontinued after 2013 for a period of two years.
Another example is Ukraine where, according to stakeholders, early GPSF interventions were opportunistic and scattered due to the lack of a strategic approach to programming. An interdepartmental Task Force was only established to coordinate Canada’s security, development, and humanitarian efforts in Ukraine in 2014, almost two years after START had commenced programming in the country. Expert policy guidance was provided by IRP, the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Relations (EUC) Bureau, the Foreign Policy Planning (POL) and Democracy (IOL) divisions. The Ukraine Task Force was also supported by other government department representatives from PS, DND and the PCO. A country placemat for Ukraine was also developed by IRP, which included a listing of other GAC and GC programs and initiatives and some guidance on programming objectives and activities.
The lack of an overall, multi–year strategy for a whole-of-government approach to crisis response and stabilization initiatives in priority countries has reportedly hindered START’s ability to monitor and measure progress and report on the achievement of results against clear goals and expected outcomes.
Finding 13: The absence of country and thematic/sector strategies in the context of stabilization has led to dispersed and uneven programming, informed by opportunities rather than strategic planning.
The overall lack of strategic planning and country frameworks presented a major challenge for the evaluation with regard to identifying the concrete goals and priorities some START projects aimed to advance, especially in countries that have not been affected by recent conflicts or political instability (e.g. Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Moldova, etc.). Evidence of START projects in areas that have traditionally been within the purview of other programs also indicated a programing drift from START’s declared priority areas.
Based on the project sample, 56% of the analyzed projects were aligned with identified needs; however, no evidence of prior alignment – a clear link between project objectives and stabilization needs – was found for 26 projects (35% of the project sample).
In the rest of the cases, although no direct evidence of alignment with stabilization needs was found, projects were justified through an overarching Canadian strategy or the objective(s) of an international organization/multilateral, such as:
- Canada’s obligations under the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mine Ban;
- G-8 commitments to expand global capacity for peace operations, or reinforce national, regional and local capacities to organize efficient and sustainable peace operations to respond to crisis situations in fragile states;
- Needs identified by UN Women, the Institute for International Criminal Investigation and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
- The graph illustrates the total amount of committed START/GPSF funds by programming theme between 2010/11 and 2015/16.
- Sustainable Economic Growth: $14.7 million
- Advancing Democracy: $76.4 million
- Ensuring Security and Stability: $280.7 million
- Other: $45.8 million
- Total committed funds: $417, 550, 526
Directed programming was frequently cited by interlocutors as the primary cause for programming drift. A number of specific examples attest for the consequences of the directed programming, namely:
- An increase in START’s spending on the military from near zero in 2010/11 to over 30% as a proportion of total spending in 2014/15 (e.g. Ukraine, Afghanistan, Jordan);
- Canadian funding to peacebuilding missions, for example, has precipitously declined over the last five years. Canada’s contribution to peace operations in Africa, where the need has been particularly acute, has almost ceased, demonstrating a growing disconnect between Canada’s policy on peace operations and actual programming activities, the alignment of which is a major part of START’s mandate.
- Increased number of projects under a category named “Other,” i.e. projects that would not directly fall under one of the two main categories (“Advancing Democracy” or “Ensuring Security and Stability”) and described as projects in support of “social/welfare services,” “trade facilitation,” “medical services,” “rural development,” “reproductive health care,” etc. This category of projects saw an increase from nearly zero in 2010/11 to over 7% as a proportion of total program spending.
Finding 14: START has instituted a robust project review process (PAT and DPAT); however, directed programming has resulted in the approval of projects that are only marginally relevant to START’s mandate.
START’s PAT and DPAT, consisting of IRG, IRP, IRC and IRH Directors and Deputy Directors, was formed to play a challenge function for priority setting and project approvals. The institution of the PIA process, however, attenuated the ability of PAT and DPAT to perform a genuine challenge function in the review and approval of project proposals. According to interviewees, the PIA process introduced some distortions not only in the planning but also in the project review process. Proponents had to “reverse engineer” directed projects and align them with an existing or “directed” priority, sometimes without a reference to their actual contribution to conflict prevention or stabilization. This was, evidenced by the proportion of funded projects only tangentially aligned with START’s core mandate, as illustrated in the preceding finding. Directed programming, for example, reduced the focus and effectiveness of projects related to SGBV. The GC used START funding to meet its broad international commitments and priorities related to WPS, SGBV and CEFM. START was often asked to prepare projects to be announced at upcoming international summits. That often meant that GPSF had little time to design projects carefully, and partners had only a few months to implement activities. Directed programming contributed to a “drift” away from START’s core mandate of preventing sexual violence in conflict, e.g. GPSF received approval for several one-time CEFM projects in African countries that were not necessarily priorities for security-related programming.
Finding 15: While the Program did effective operational coordination in response to natural disasters, coordination in response to stabilization needs was difficult due to the lack of strategic programming frameworks.
The evaluation found that operational coordination in response to natural disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the Nepal earthquake, has been robust and effective, backed by strong SOPs, and the routine conduct of post-response assessments and evaluations of each major intervention. IRH has also started recording lessons learned and good practices after each major operation.
The level of operational planning and and whole-of-government coordination for GPSF programming in fragile and conflict-affected states, except for Ukraine and Syria, was found to be less effective.
In the absence of country-level strategies defining the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, including other security programs, the risk and incidents of duplication of effort in the main theatres of START interventions were found to be higher. Except for Jordan, the evaluation found little up-front coordination between START and other security programs. Further, some evidence of competition for project approvals among GAC’s security programs was observed. It was partly attributed to the PIA process, whereby the security programs would, propose and design similar projects in countries and areas most likely to get approved.
Finding 16: START demonstrated some improved coordination with GAC’s security programs over the past two years; however, coordination and leveraging of synergies with development programming in the field was found to be inconsistent.
Improved coordination among security programs and more regular consultations with development were observed post amalgamation, even though these consultations were characterized as exercises in information sharing rather than effective coordination or identification of complementarities and synergies.
The 2015 requirement that Action Memos support and accompany all project proposals submitted for approval to senior management, triggered the need for more substantive consultations among the security programs. As a result, START began more effectively reaching out to geographic and thematic desks, policy divisions, development programs, the Global Security Reporting Program (GSRP), missions, centres of expertise, Justice Legal Services, the Financial Compliance Unit, etc. START also started restoring its liaisons with other government departments, agencies and federal entities including the DND, the RCMP, PS, CSC and CBSA that were previously hampered by the diminished, intermittent and uncertain GPSF funding authorities.
The current security context has become more complex and involves issues related to core stability, globalized security threats (e.g. foreign fighters), counter-messaging etc. As a result, Canada’s security interests and priorities have shifted and GAC’s security-related programs (e.g. ACCBP, CTCBP, and the Global Partnership Program (GPP)) have evolved to reflect the interconnectivity of security threats, naturally resulting in some overlaps of their mandates. This, in turn, has provoked the need for better coordination among GAC’s security programs and leveraging of synergies. Over the past two years, there has been a growing interest in reinforcing “security value chains” in specific regions and countries through coordinated programming in areas such as conflict prevention, justice reform and anti-corruption.
Development programming, in turn, has become more comprehensive, encompassing areas such as SSR and public-private partnerships for economic growth and calling for a stronger collaboration with security programming.
Many interlocutors saw the amalgamation of ex-CIDA and ex-DFAIT as a good opportunity and necessity for increased complementarity and coordination among GAC’s security and development programs and initiated more frequent consultations at GAC’s HQ. With regard to cooperation in the field, however, the evaluation did not find compelling evidence of improved coordination and effective synergies between security and development programs.
The Ukraine Task Force, established in 2014, reportedly helped to facilitate communications and improve coordination between START and other programming in Ukraine by bringing stakeholders together, and helping them define their specific roles and responsibilities.
During the evaluation period, GAC supported projects in Ukraine through several channels: four security programs, development, CFLI and humanitarian assistance, as summarized in the table below.
|Program||Issues Funded by Projects|
|GPSF||▪ elections monitoring ▪ security system management and reform ▪ civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution ▪ spending on the military ▪ democratic participation and civil society ▪ human rights ▪ land mine clearance ▪ public sector police and administrative management|
|CTCBP||▪ border and transportation security ▪ police forces and intelligence services capacity building ▪ military capacity building ▪ countering the financing of terrorism|
|ACCBP||▪ border security ▪ UNODC Container Control Program|
|GPP||▪ nuclear security support (material and capacity building training) ▪ containment of the Chernobyl accident site|
|Development||▪ democracy and governance ▪ macroeconomic and financial sector management ▪ civil society development ▪ prevention of human trafficking ▪ legal and judicial reform ▪ agriculture ▪ decentralization and local economic development ▪ SME development ▪ media freedom ▪ promotion and protection of human rights, including religious freedom ▪ elections monitoring ▪ electoral system capacity-building in Ukraine|
|Humanitarian Assistance||▪ first aid and psycho-social assistance to those affected by the violence in Ukraine|
|CFLI||▪ elections monitoring ▪ anticorruption ▪ promotion of human rights and monitoring of judicial system ▪ women’s participation in local elections ▪ medical assistance|
Canada’s embassy in Kyiv (KYIV) has been supportive of START and the other security and development programs which reportedly raised Canada’s profile in Ukraine. The political section, despite being very understaffed, has been active in ensuring donor coordination and in co-leading a donor coordination group on elections, organizing monthly meetings with 20 to 25 like-minded representatives, NGOs and implementing organizations to discuss capacity building and other issues.
According to mission staff, the collaboration and interaction between the political, development and trade sections in KYIV considerably improved over the past two years but the lack of START’s field presence or resident representative was identified as a factor that has reduced the opportunities for more inclusive and better aligned programming to the evolving situation on the ground.
Evidence collected though the field visit to Ukraine also indicated that START did not take advantage of the development program’s situational knowledge and experience for the identification of new programming, nor did START project officers request information on implementing organizations and recipients with whom development had already established long-standing relationships (e.g. Agriteam and the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior). START’s consultations with the KYIV development program during scoping and monitoring missions were reported to be infrequent and personality-based, and programming decisions were often taken without any feedback being sought from the development unit.
START overlapped with GAC humanitarian programming in a few countries, particularly on projects related to SGBV. Based on a corporate list of SGBV-related programming in 2012-2015, START, humanitarian and development streams often supported projects in the same conflict-affected countries, but through different implementing partners. There were a few cases of overlap in programming and/or mandates on SGBV between GAC streams. For example, GPSF and Humanitarian both supported IOM projects to prevent sexual violence in refugee camps. GPSF, humanitarian and development streams all had SGBV-related programming in the DRC. GPSF supported a five-year program to build capacity to assist victims of sexual violence in Colombia, which was the type of longer-term programming supported by Development in other countries. Several GAC officials interviewed for the evaluation highlighted the need for improve policy and programming coordination between security, humanitarian and development streams in countries where all three operate.
Finding 17: Coordination with international partners in security and stabilization projects has been stronger where START has made significant investments.
Coordination with international partners has been strong in countries where START has made significant investments (e.g., Afghanistan, Haiti, South Sudan, Colombia, Ukraine, Jordan),where START used to have a field presence, and/ or where START contributed to multilateral trust funds, though some coordination gaps have been reported (e.g. Jordan, Colombia, etc.).
Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, multilateral organizations consistently received the highest proportion of GPSF committed funds, followed by international NGOs (INGOs) and Canadian INGOs. In FY 2015/2016, INGOs (such as Freedom House, IREX, the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action and IRI) and Other Legal Entities have received the highest amount of committed funds.
Proportion of Committed Funds by Recipient Type, FY 2010/11 to 2015/16 YTDFootnote 10
This graph illustrates the proportion of committed START/GPSF funds by recipient type, between 2010/11 to 2015/16(Up to August 31st).
|Type of Institution||2010/11||2011/12||2012/13||2013/14||2014/15|
|Other Government Departments||8%||6%||17%||2%||10%|
|Other Legal Entities||10%||4%||9%||3%||4%|
Canada, through START and GPSF has been one of the most significant leaders and contributors to two North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) trust funds/centres of excellence for Ukraine. Although still in development, START’s contributions to the trust funds are supporting NATO’s efforts to strengthen and reform the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence (MOD). By supporting NATO, Canada is also leveraging NATO’s contributions to the MOD to create policy changes that could not be implemented on a bilateral basis.
START has also contributed more than $2.7 million to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine. Stakeholders reported that the advantages of contributing to the OSCE multilateral SMM included increased coordination among member states, adherence to international best practices, and reduced duplication of efforts. So far, Canada and other donors have contributed to an increased situational awareness on the ground. Additionally, there are some reports that monitors have been able to negotiate local cease fires.
START’s programming in the West Bank was viewed as exemplary: Canada’s police deployments in support of Operation Proteus (Office of the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority) to build security capacity in the West Bank were cited as an enormous success. Canada contributed to the consolidation of 13 police units within the West Bank under one command centre, which has greatly improved coordination and discipline within the ranks of the Palestinian Authority Police Force.
Canada, along with 15 other donors, is a major contributor to LOTFA, designed as a salary and operational support instrument for the Afghan National Police force. In countries where START’s programming footprint has been light, opportunities to engage and leverage the contributions of international partners and like-minded donors have been fewer (e.g. of the roughly 78 countries in which START had projects over the evaluation reference period, 34 countries/regions had one project only, and 7 countries had two projects).
Several GPSF projects contributed to improved capacity of UN agencies (e.g. UN Women, OHCHR) and international NGOs (e.g. JRR) to address SGBV-related crimes. For example, with GPSF support through JRR, UN Women developed a roster of over 135 experts to investigate SGBV in conflict-affected areas. Through GPSF projects in Colombia, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) expanded its experience and knowledge, which enabled it to develop SGBV as a core competence in its global programming.
These positive examples cannot, however, compensate for the prolonged interruptions in engagement and funding of projects in Haiti, Colombia and South Sudan, as well as the withdrawal of START’s field representatives, have led to reduced participation of Canada in donor coordination fora, and have been viewed by international partners and implementing organizations as negatively impacting Canada’s image as a reliable partner and contributor to the peace process in these countries.
7.2.3 Resource Mobilization
Finding 18: START’s performance in leveraging the expertise of OGDs to contribute to stabilization efforts has diminished over the evaluation reference period.
Vote 1 disbursement, the primary instrument for facilitating the participation of OGDs in whole-of-government stabilization efforts, declined by 57% during the evaluation reference period, with the attendant reduction in OGD engagement in program delivery. Roughly 30% of the total Vote 1 disbursements over the past 5 years have been made through the House of Commons, GAC missions and divisions at HQ, DND, RCMP and the CCC, with the majority of funds being channeled through DND ($6 M in 2014 and $9M in 2015).
START contributions to the CPA in partnership with RCMP and PS, which accounts for most of Vote 1 programming, also declined during this period from 204 deployments in 2011/12 to 94 in 2014/15, largely due to an inability to secure approval for many proposed deployment missions. Most approved deployments were concentrated in Haiti. More recently, the deployment of two Canadian police officers under START’s CPA to train police officers in Lviv was reported to be a contributing factor to the success of the Police Patrol Reform Project in Ukraine. As a result of this success, Canada is expected to expand its role in police training.
START’s civilian deployments also witnessed a decline during the evaluation reference period. This said there are several projects involving the deployment of civilian experts which were reported to have been very successful. For example, a number of experts were deployed to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, including a security and governance expert to work with the NATO Liaison Unit in Kyiv to support NATO’s partnership development with Ukraine. This project is reported to have enhanced Canada’s understanding of NATO operations in Ukraine while giving more visibility to Canada.
Finding 19: START’s capacity to rapidly disburse funds was one of its strengths, compared to other funding instruments; however, the PIA process impacted adversely the efficiency of START’s programming during the evaluation reference period.
Following the institution of the PIA process, a number of direct impacts on START programming were observed. The analysis of the project sample indicated:
- Increased processing time for project proposals from 4.6 months up to 12 months for 43% of the projects in the sample, which heightened the level risk and uncertainty to many implementing partners.
- Frequent project modifications (scaling back of project activities), return of funds and/or cancellations, evidenced by the variance between planned and actual expenditures during the evaluation reference period (less than 50% of project proposals were approved and only 63% of planned budget spent in some years).
- Increase in retroactive payments (more than 50% of the projects in the project sample).
Implementing partners and organizations frequently reported the need for more predictable funding. For example, some implementing organizations (e.g. Agriteam in Ukraine) had to start project activities up to three months prior to receiving final funding approvals from START in order to meet FY deadlines. For some implementers, this meant assuming a high level of monetary risk in order to advance with committed activities and implement projects on time. Overall, a number of implementing organizations expressed concerns with the tight implementation timelines following the lengthy proposal approval process, which have ultimately resulted in reduced project effectiveness and impacted the sustainability of project results.
The several short-term renewals of GPSF’s funding authorities over the evaluation reference period led to reduced windows for programming, leaving as little as three to six months for projects’ design, approval and implementation. On a number of occasions, implementing organizations had to return unspent funding before the end of the FY, and eventually receive it back once program authorities were renewed. Such interruptions in the project implementation process have resulted in diminished project efficiency.
Project approval delays have also often necessitated changes to the originally proposed activities by partners and implementers. In some cases, project parameters and needs had shifted by the time funding was approved, making partners review and amend their initial proposals. Under these conditions, implementing partners expressed the need for greater flexibility from START allowing sufficient time for project amendments and adjustments to fit the shorter implementation timeframes. Some implementing partners expressed concern about the timeframes and the need to complete activities by March 2016 that were approved only in mid-2015.
Finding 20: START and GPSF have demonstrated some success in leveraging the resources of other partners to enhance program/project efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
START has partnered bilaterally, trilaterally and multilaterally with other governments, including the U.S. and U.K., to deliver some of its programming. For example, a large-scale police reform initiative was implemented in partnership with the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Government of Japan to build a new civilian police force in Ukraine. START’s funding has been key in leveraging the support of the U.S. and Japan to fund community policing initiatives in Ukraine, including training and the provision of protective gear, uniforms and police patrol cars
GPSF contribution to multilateral trust funds, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) trust funds in support of Ukraine and Afghanistan, has reportedly increased their effectiveness. While Canada’s contributions to these funds may have resulted in reduced direct control over their disbursements, START’s involvement has effectively built on pre-existing structures and leveraged funding from multiple sources,
Five of GPSF’s largest projects, worth $8.8 million (61% of total GPSF disbursements) were contributions to institutional programs funded by other donors and implemented by multilateral partners such as OAS and UNDP. Supporting pooled funds through multilateral agencies ensured that GPSF’s relatively small contributions would be complemented and supplemented by additional funding from diverse sources.
Interviewed stakeholders provided a few examples of GPSF’s support to international organization and partners in leveraging additional funding. For example, after the Land Restitution Office in Colombia received GPSF seed money to develop national legislation and open local offices in 2010, USAID provided additional funding to establish land restitution mechanisms. Based on their experience with implementing GPSF-funded SGBV projects in Colombia, NRC was able to get funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for a three-year project to replicate and expand the work on these projects in two other countries.
While participation in multilateral agreements has contributed to increase START’s profile among partners and allies, it has also been seen as lowering Canada’s visibility among beneficiaries. Such agreements have also been subject to slower bureaucratic coordination and approval processes (often requiring the consensus of all member states, e.g. OSCE). The limited to no reporting against specific START performance measures and indicators has also been a challenge for the program, both in terms of accountability for committed resources and a divergence from its mandate to rapidly respond to crises situations.
7.2.4 Risk Management
Finding 21: START has developed a risk management framework (currently under review); however, adherence to this framework was found to be inconsistent.
Since 2011-2012, IRP has been working on a special “Risk Map” and “Risk Monitor” tool to guide START’s overall conflict analysis and strategic coordination work. The “Risk Monitor” has considerably evolved over the past few years by providing a reliable overview of emerging trends in fragile states, covering 90+ countries, thus becoming a GAC-wide tool in support of conflict prevention and peacebuilding policy development.
Canada was often commended by like-minded countries for these risk-mapping tools, but the evaluation found of how, or to what extend the Risk Monitor and Risk Mapping tools have been used to inform planning and programming within START.
For example, risk management and monitoring at the program and the project level within START were overseen by the PAT and DPAT committees, mandated to play a challenge function and to provide and additional forum for discussing risk management. There is no evidence, however, of references made to the Risk Map and Risk Monitor during the review and approval of projects proposals and related implementation risks. The evaluation also found that START project officers did not consult the Risk Maps when assessing and entering the project risk profiles in the SSPMT system, Risk levels were assigned to each project based on overall estimates, previous history and/or project officer’s experience with particular countries. According to the graph, almost half of the program funding (47%) was disbursed for projects with “high” or “very high” level of risk, and only 14% of the funding was spent on “very low” risk projects. While data entered in the SSPMT system indicates the level of risk for each project, it does not provide further information on the specific types of risk, e.g. financial, reputational or implementation, which in turn impacts the performance measurement and reporting on results functions. The evaluation also found that due to resource constraints, there was insufficient quality control on the accuracy of the risk and results-related information entered by junior officers in the SSPMT.
The withdrawal of START’s field officers from major countries of operation after March 2013 was seen by many program managers as a factor that had reduced the ability of the Program to network locally and assess and closely monitor the level of risk for major projects. Following the amalgamation with former CIDA, a potential was seen for leveraging the benefits of a field presence through ex-CIDA’s Project Support Units (PSU); however, their capacity to support security programming was found to be uneven and not covering some critical countries for START.
7.2.5 Information Management
Finding 22: START has instituted a good project management tool that includes both project and financial information; however, there has been insufficient oversight of the quality of information entered.
START uses the Security and Stability Project Management Tool (SSPMT) to manage the life cycles of each project. SSPMT has built-in risk analysis, gender equality indicators, currency conversion tools and functions which reflect to a great extent the functionalities of ex-CIDA’s database systems (SAP and GCS).
The SSPMT database has undergone multiple improvements over the past five years and continues to be regularly updated to reflect new START business processes and central agency requirements. The quality of the data entered, however, was found to vary depending on the level of training and expertise of the project officers. Some project officers reported to have received limited or no training on performance measurement which has often impacted the accuracy of the information entered, especially with regard to the project logic models, the formulation of expected results, the related levels of risk, etc. Even though the system has built- in features requiring complete data entry for a project to move on to the next stage or to be closed, the lack of direct oversight of the quality of information entered over periods of time has reduced the level of confidence and reliability of the information, especially with regard to performance and project/program risks. Financial tracking at the project level was also reported to be inconsistent or less reliable at times. One of the stated reasons for this was the frequent turnover of START staff with different project managers starting and closing a project.
7.2.6 Performance Monitoring and Results Reporting
Finding 23: Monitoring at the project and program level was found to be incommensurate with the level of project funding and related programming risk.
Performance monitoring throughout the project implementation cycle is important for ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. The review of project documentation and evidence from interviews indicated that project monitoring in START is conducted mainly through the review and analysis of interim narrative and financial project reports prepared by the implementing organizations, as well as through regular e-mail communications with the implementers.
Mission staff have also been involved, when possible, in project monitoring activities, however, understaffed missions have reported this to be an additional burden for them. Program stakeholders and implementers often indicated that monitoring site visits by GPSF officers have been insufficient, especially with regard to critical or sensitive projects. For instance, the evaluation team was told that the GPSF program manager for Ukraine had conducted only one monitoring visit over a period of one year, which was considered incommensurate with the amount of funding and related programming risk.
GPSF managers for Colombia, for example, had conducted an average of three field missions each year for project monitoring, supported by two locally-engaged staff (LES) until 2012, when the LES positions were cut and the funding for Colombia considerably reduced. Having all the field monitoring done by an Ottawa-based manager was found to be less efficient than using field-based resources.
The frequent turnover of GPSF staff at HQ made project monitoring less consistent and systematic on several country programs, affecting the tracking and reporting of project results, and the identification and respective quick resolution of implementation challenges.
Internal and external stakeholders also indicated that in addition to contributing to the timely identification and mitigation of potential project risks, more regular monitoring visits by GPSF project officers are a good demonstration of Canada’s true engagement with partners and beneficiaries.
Finding 24: START has developed a performance measurement framework and logic model identifying its expected outcomes; however the lack of alignment with the Program’s Security and Stability Project Management Tool (SSMPT) has reduced their use for planning and reporting purposes.
According to the GPSF’s Ts&Cs, all GPSF projects need to have a results-based framework and/or a logic model aligned with the program-level logic model and expected outcomes. The evaluation found, however, that the quality, effectiveness and application of those frameworks varied from project to project, and was highly dependent on the capacity of the implementing organization to respond to GPSF’s performance measurement and reporting requirements.
All projects reviewed in the sample had a results-based management (RBM) framework developed by the implementing partners as part of the project proposal. While all project proposals and related RBM frameworks have been subject to a thorough review by the IRC Project Team and the PAT/DPAT Committee at the onset of a project, the closing of the projects, including the quality of the final reports, were found to be less carefully monitored. In some cases, the “expected outcomes” were simply copied and pasted in the “outcomes to date” section, without any explanation or examples of actual results. In other cases, no evidence was provided to demonstrate if and how the outcomes had been achieved. Often times, performance indicators for outputs (e.g. “number of…”) were used to demonstrate achievement of outcomes. In some cases, the final reports did not address the initially planned results/outcomes, and there was no indication that project officers followed up with the implementers to request more precise information.
Interviews with GPSF staff revealed that many implementing partners had limited experience with results-based management. They tended to provide lengthy narrative descriptions of activities and outputs, rather than quantitative data and analysis of results achieved. In the case of GPSF projects with multilateral institutions, the Program had to accept the annual reports presented to all donors to the pooled funds, due to the institutional reporting practices of these organizations. For these projects, the attribution of results to GPSF alone has not been possible, but the level of Canada’s contribution has always been duly recognized by the recipient.
RBM at the project and program levels is additionally challenged by the lack of alignment between the expected outcomes in the Logic Model and the thematic priorities identified in START’s main database, i.e. the Security and Stability Project Management Tool (SSMPT). According to START’s Business Process Guidebook (January 2014), the SSMPT was “developed to enable START to manage project-related information.” The SSPMT is the only source used in START for ODA reporting and project data management. The accuracy of the reports generated by the SSPMT entirely depends on the quality and precision of the data entered by the project officers. The fact that the SSMPT does not allow for input of outcomes as defined in START’s logic model makes the demonstration of results at the program level particularly difficult. Additionally, in the absence of relevant outcome-level data, program managers cannot easily aggregate project results to check if the program is on course of achieving its intended outcomes. In order to analyze the project sample, for example, the Evaluation Team had to assess which projects would likely contribute to each of the intermediate outcomes identified in the Logic Model.
The existence of over 30 sectors in the SSPMT and the fact that some of them could appear under both themes (“Advancing Democracy” and “Ensuring Security and Stability”) creates additional challenges for project analysis, e.g. filtering groups of projects under a specific sector for more detailed analysis, identifying best practices under a sector or theme, etc. The theme in the database called “Other” and the types of projects entered under it, also reiterates the challenge with finding the right thematic fit for some of the projects. In the absence of such, projects are entered under the theme “Other” raising the question about the clarity of their goals and the extent to which they are aligned with START’s mandate and Logic Model.
7.2.7 Human Resources Management
Finding 25: START had developed a human resource strategy and training programs to support continuous learning; however, their irregular implementation and uncertainties relating to funding authorities have limited staff and corporate memory retention.
START employees were commended by partners and beneficiaries for their professional attitude and responsiveness; however, retaining expertise has been a challenge, mostly due to high turnover (rotations, mobile pools, uncertainties relating to START’s funding authority, and fatigue with directed programming and lack of project approvals).
Interviewees reported that the uneven workloads among the geographic teams within IRG combined with uncertainties related to the approval of project proposals for “non-priority” regions have resulted in some inefficiencies and staff disengagement.
The high turnover rates also resulted in frequent changes of the project officers/contact points for international partners and for other GAC divisions and missions, leading to loss of corporate memory, continuity and knowledge-sharing. For instance, in Colombia, the GPSF program did not have in place good tools and practices, such as hand-over notes, to ensure continuity and knowledge-sharing among project officers as they rotated. Electronic files were not transferred systematically and new project officers did not always receive appropriate RBM training when and as needed.
Training over the evaluation period was reported to be largely confined to the SOPs and more process rather than substance-oriented. Some years there were no training sessions, although the 2015 re-appointment of a training coordinator re-instituted START’s training sessions for new staff.
Concerns were expressed about the difficulty in hiring people with strong programming skills and experience (e.g. IRG’s staff complement consists mainly of EC and FS positions, and only a few PM positions, therefore it could not benefit from the PM mobile pool).
Similar concerns were raised regarding START’s capacity to provide expert counsel on matters related to project budgets, implementing instruments (CAs, Supply Arrangements, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), etc.) and related project implementation risks.
Loss of field-based staff in some countries (e.g. Colombia) affected project identification, planning and monitoring. Both internal and external stakeholders reported that the absence of field staff has limited GPSF in establishing the necessary networks, local contacts and liaisons with partners to facilitate the identification of specific needs and related decision-making and communications with HQ; participating in strategic policy dialogue on conflict-related issues; and supporting the monitoring and implementation of a program of this size and complexity. The lack of field representation for GPSF in priority countries, such as Jordan and Ukraine was reported to be a risk factor for the Program resulting in reduced or no accountability for performance in the field.
7.2.8 Cost Efficiency and Value for Money
Finding 26: START’s spending has been uneven over the past five years with significantly lower spending in 2012 and 2013, resulting in inefficiencies such as higher administrative costs, reduced opportunities for program managers to maintain relationships with other donors and increased risks for the sustainability of project results.
The lack of longer-term authority renewals since 2012, along with the PIA process and its attendant reduction in GPSF programming expenditures, have led to significantly lower budget disbursements while IRG’s staff complement remained relatively stable. The fact that only about 50% of the project proposals made were approved through the PIA process also resulted in inefficiencies and higher administrative costs and charges averaged 11.3 % of program disbursements, with this ratio rising from a low of 7.1% in 2010/11 to 13.4 % and 14.9% in FY 2012/13 and 2013/14 respectively).
Uncertainties regarding project approvals, along with the need to quickly disburse funds to meet targets (e.g. provision of advanced and/or retroactive payments on projects), or receive back unused funds before FY-end due to short project implementation timeframes, has led to administrative inefficiencies, including higher financial risks and transaction costs.
The efficiency of START programming has also been impacted by the need to annually renew funding for ongoing multi-year projects. For example, at the start of the evaluation reference period, GPSF had multi-year projects with approved funding for up to three years.Footnote 11 The absence of longer-term spending authorities after 2012 and the short-term mandate extensions resulted in GPSF losing its multi-year project funding authority: projects could be funded only on annual basis. For example, in Colombia, GPSF disbursed almost two-thirds (over $9 M) of its total funding during the evaluation period on annual renewals of multi-year programming with MAPPFootnote 12, AICMA, NRC and the IOM.
Having to prepare and submit for approval new funding proposals for existing programs resulted in high transactional costs for GPSF and for implementing partners. In several cases, the significant time-gap between the end of one project phase and the start of another, required that implementing partners scale back or discontinue programming. For example, AICMA and MAPP representatives in Colombia reported that on a number of occasions they came close to having to fire experienced staff and close their offices, due to delays in expected support from GPSF and other donors (primarily U.S.).Footnote 13
The short-term funding authorities and the uncertainties related to the renewals of START’s mandate have contradicted its ultimate goal to promote security and stability, which requires longer-term commitment to fragile and conflict-affected states.
The following charts reflect the annual budget disbursements (percentage of the allocated budget) over the evaluation reference period. From 2010 to 2015, the program spent on average 87.7% of its total Vote 1 Operations and Maintenance (O&M) budget. The particularly low percentage for FY 2014/15 (66.81%) resulted from the RCMP not using the allocated CPA funding owing to a diminution in the number of approved deployments.
- This chart illustrates the annual budget disbursements of operations and maintenance funding (Vote 1) as a percentage of the allocated Vote 1 budget between 2010 and 2016 (until August 31st)
- 2010: 98.78%
- 2011: 93.85%
- 2012: 98.58%
- 2013: 83.60%
- 2014: 84.74%
- 2015: 66.81%
- 2016: 7.13%
With regard to Vote 10, START has managed to allocate 93.6% of its budget between 2010 and 2015 (final data on disbursements for 2015/16 was not available at the time of report writing). A closer look at the disbursements indicates lower levels between 2012 and 2014, reflecting the impact of the PIA process on programming. As noted in finding 16 of this report, START’s record of disbursements was to a significant extent sustained by the increase (over 60%) in contributions to multilateral organizations during the evaluation reference period.
- This chart illustrates the annual budget disbursements of grants and contributions funding (Vote 10) as a percentage of the allocated Vote 10 budget between 2010 and 2016 (until August 31st)
- 2010: 99.5%
- 2011: 98.8%
- 2012: 87.6%
- 2013: 90.3%
- 2014: 89.4%
- 2015: 96.1%
- 2016: 25.1%
The following table indicates the total Vote 1 and Vote 10 GPSF disbursements over the evaluation reference period (data for FY 2015/2016 may not be complete) by functional divisions within START, geographic regions and special initiatives. From the total budget, 83% is allocated for GPSF programming, with almost 30% committed to Afghanistan and Asia, followed by Africa and Europe, mainly Ukraine (20%), and BMENA with 19.6%.
|Fund Description||Vote 1||Vote 10||Total||% of Total|
|Afghanistan / Asia||$ 14,782,459||$ 180,409,461||$ 195,191,920||28.8%|
|Africa / Europe||$ 503,845||$ 134,716,369||$ 135,220,215||20.0%|
|Americas||$ 6,158,374||$ 90,865,100||$ 97,023,474||14.3%|
|BMENA||$ 454,017||$ 132,302,215||$ 132,756,231||19.6%|
|Canada Fund||$ 4,600,374||$ 35,130,449||$ 39,730,824||5.9%|
|Civilian Deployment (CDP)||$ 2,682,015||$ 2,682,015||0.4%|
|Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA)||$ 59,291,486||$ 59,291,486||8.8%|
|IRC - Conf. Prev Peace||$ 74,564||$ 74,564||0.0%|
|IRC - Deployment & Coordination||$ 2,983,644||$ 2,983,644||0.4%|
|IRD - GPSF Programming||$ 954,144||$ 3,100,173||$ 4,054,317||0.6%|
|IRD - Reserve||$ -||$ -||$ -||0.0%|
|IRD - Stab. & Recon. Task||$ 2,211,989||$ -||$ 2,211,989||0.3%|
|IRG - Stab & Recon Programming||$ 2,971,110||$ 2,971,110||0.4%|
|IRH||$ 1,205,740||$ 1,205,740||0.2%|
|IRP - GPOP||$ 100,036||$ 100,036||0.0%|
|IRP - Peace & Peace Operations||$ 89,506||$ 89,506||0.0%|
|IRP - Peace & Frag. Stat||$ 1,392,259||$ 1,392,259||0.2%|
|MEP - Economic Rel / Dev||$ 497,604||$ 497,604||0.1%|
|Prov. Recon. Tm KANDAH||-$ 1,374||-$ 1,374||0.0%|
|Grand Total||$ 100,851,758||$ 576,623,803||$ 677,475,561||100.0%|
The funding for the CPA represents almost 60% of the total Vote 1, while the budget for civilian deployments is only 6% of Vote 1.
Finding 27: During the past five years, START has increasingly focussed its programming on responses to conflict and less so on conflict prevention.
The experience of like-minded countries and major international organizations has unequivocally demonstrated that investing in conflict prevention is more cost-effective than dealing with the aftermath of violent conflicts. Conflict prevention and stabilization provide much higher value-for-money than responding to conflicts, often involving costly military interventions. Another widely-recognized positive side effect of stabilization support is that it often offsets or reduces the need for costly humanitarian and development work in dangerous environments.
Stakeholders and program managers indicated the need for START to increase its focus on conflict prevention. In fact, IRP has developed a suite of draft policy frameworks (as mentioned on page 30), including an analytical tool for preventing mass atrocities, based on the UN’s framework of analysis, that could be used to guide departmental efforts to engage more effectively. It is important to note that START has the potential to play a catalytic role in conflict prevention and stabilization but would needed wider and stronger support from internal and external stakeholders in order to be successful.
Conclusion #1: The rationale for creating START and GPSF continues to be valid: they fill an institutional and funding gap in the GC and GAC and provide a platform for rapid whole-of-government response to international crises, complex emergencies, peace keeping and stabilization needs of fragile and conflict-affected states.
The evaluation found that over the evaluation reference period, START has made considerable contributions to the advancement of Canada’s foreign policy objectives and priorities, and continues to address major security issues and mitigate threats to Canadians and Canadian interests both at home and abroad.
Global security trends suggest that conflict and state instability are likely to increase, both in terms of numbers and complexity, implicating more actors with far-reaching impacts. Responding to threats posed by fragile and conflict-affected states, including terrorist and international crime activities, has become a discrete foreign policy domain for most like-minded countries. As a result, the last several years have witnessed a considerable increase in the number of threat-reduction policies, programs and related institutional structures in almost all OECD countries.
The evolution of security programs within GAC after 2005, in terms of both geographic and thematic coverage (e.g. ACCBP and ACCBP- Anti-Human Smuggling, CTCBP and CTCBP - Sahel, and GPP), has increased the need for improved coordination, and leveraging of synergies among these programs in order to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Identifying the specific strengths of START and its thematic policy and programming niche in the nexus of security and development programs has become a major condition and prerequisite for the potential renewal of START’s mandate and spending authorities beyond April 2016. More specifically, the evaluation identified the need for START to re-assess its strategic objectives in the changing context of conflict and global security, and identify its thematic and geographic areas of focus, including type of policy and programming engagements.
Conclusion #2: Uncertainties related to the funding renewals of GPSF and the implementation of the PIA process affected strategic multi-year planning within START and led to uneven programming and spending over the evaluation reference period.
The multi-year strategic planning process and the development of country frameworks were set aside in 2011 following the institution of the PIA process which reduced the scope for strategic planning as projects became increasingly directed. The lack of an overall, multi–year strategy for a whole-of-government approach to crisis response and stabilization initiatives in priority countries reportedly hindered START’s ability to monitor and measure progress and report on the achievement of results against clear goals and expected outcomes. In addition, the absence of country and thematic strategies led to uneven programming over the evaluation reference period. START implemented projects in some countries that have not been in conflict or at risk of conflict, nor even fragile by international standards (e.g., Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Moldova, Paraguay, etc.), while at the same time reducing programming in other countries and regions (i.e. East and West Africa) seriously affected by instability and conflict. The lack of strategic planning and country strategies also resulted in a programming drift from START’s declared priority areas and niche role. START programmed in domains such as counter-terrorism, anti-crime, humanitarian mine action, social/welfare services, reproductive health care, medical services, and human rights, which, though tangentially related to its mandate, fall within the purview of other departmental programs.
Uncertainties related to the funding renewals of GPSF also had a major impact on START’s strategic planning process. As previously mentioned, GPSF was created to fill a funding and operational gap within GAC for programming that ensures a rapid and efficient whole-of government response to crisis situations, both natural and human inflicted. The several short term renewals of GPSF’s funding authorities impacted its reliability and predictability as a funding mechanism and reduced windows for programming. Implementing partners and organizations frequently reported the need for more predictable funding. START’s uneven spending over the past five years resulted in a number of inefficiencies, such as higher administrative costs, reduced opportunities for program managers to maintain relationships with other donors and increased risks for the sustainability of project results.
Conclusion #3: Increasing acknowledgment of the relationship between security and development objectives indicates the compelling and growing need for improved cooperation and coordination between security and development programs. The amalgamation of ex-DFAIT and ex-CIDA is seen by both internal and external stakeholders as an opportunity to leverage the synergies and strengths of GAC’s development, humanitarian and security-related policies and programs.
Challenges for coherent programming have increased over the past several years as the mandates for both security and development have evolved globally. When GPSF was designed in 2005, it was mainly focused on “cops, courts and corrections”. Since then, the security context has become more complex and moved towards issues related to core stability, globalized security threats (e.g. foreign fighters), counter-messaging, etc. At the same time, development programming has become more comprehensive, encompassing areas such as governance systems, public-private partnerships for economic growth, and security, as depicted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the five key “peacebuilding and state building goals” set by OECD in the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, namely):
- Fostering inclusive politics
- Establishing security
- Increasing access to justice
- Generating employment and improving livelihoods
- Managing revenue and delivering services
There is a growing consensus among internal and external stakeholders that Canada needs a range of tools and flexible mechanisms to respond to both short and long-term needs in conflict and post-conflict countries. Many interlocutors see the amalgamation of ex-CIDA and ex-DFAIT as a good opportunity for increased complementarity and coordination among GAC’s security, humanitarian and development programs. During the past two years, the number and frequency of consultations among program managers at GAC HQ has considerably increased, as have briefing requests from senior management. Except for Canada’s programming in Ukraine and Jordan, the evaluation did not find evidence of much collaboration between security and development programs in the field. The collaboration between the usually short-staffed political sections and the former Project Support Units (PSUs) responsible for development programming in most missions is still nascent and in need of a major cultural change and understanding of the common goals of the amalgamated department.
Conclusion #4: Responding to the increased GC requirements for transparency and accountability requires strong performance measurement tools and strategies, along with regular reporting on results.
Performance measurement has always been a challenge for most security programs and has often been reduced to the development of a static logic model, without adequate performance indicators. START’s Logic Model has not been updated since the last renewal of the program’s Ts&Cs in 2010 and, as a result, it no longer accurately reflects the program’s current activities and expected outcomes. The lack of alignment between the program-level outcomes formulated in the logic model and the priority themes in the SSPMT creates additional challenges for reporting on results by thematic priority, geographic region or priority country. An update of START’s logic model and the SSPMT database to reflect the program’s priorities, immediate and intermediate outcomes is long overdue.
Conclusion #5: International awareness about the gendered impact of conflict and women’s important role in the peace processes that follow have increased significantly in recent years, as evidenced by the adoption of UNSCR 1325 on WPS in 2000. Canada’s stated commitment to implement UNSCR 1325 requires a concerted effort to integrate gender-related issues in all international peace and security programming and policy.
The launch of C-NAP in 2010, in response to the adoption of UNSCR 1325, contributed to greater awareness of the WPS agenda among START managers. GPSF stakeholders reported that awareness and integration of gender-related issues in programming increased notably during the evaluation period. Starting in 2013, all new START projects were required to include a gender analysis in their design. As a result, START reported a significant increase in projects that included an analysis of the differential impact of conflict on women and girls. Projects classified as focusing on the protection of women and girls’ human rights included access to legal services for victims and prevention/prosecution of SVC crimes.
START’s WPS programming was focussed heavily on the thematic area of SGBV. While SGBV was not a thematic priority for START at the beginning of the evaluation reference period, the GC’s interest and commitment to SGBV increased significantly over this period and START was selected as the focal point, partly because IRP was the GC lead on WPS. Over the evaluation reference period, GPSF funded around 45 SGBV-related projects that totaled $28.7 million. Unfortunately, START did not have a strategic plan or clear parameters for its SGBV programming. It did not outline its objectives, expected outcomes, key activities, and countries of focus or possible partners for work related to sexual violence in conflict. While GPSF has made some progress in integrating gender equality as a crosscutting issue, a more strategic approach is needed to ensure gender is considered in all projects and thematic areas.
Recommendation #1: While the assumptions that have informed the creation of START and GPSF remain largely valid, the evolving nature of security threats and conflict require that START reassess its strategic objectives, policy and programming priorities.
At the overall program level, START should return to its core mandate of security, conflict prevention, peace building and stabilization. It should reassess its strategic objectives, thematic priorities and countries of focus to reflect i) the evolving context of global security; ii) its relation to other security-related and development programming mechanisms in GAC and OGDs that have been established in the last decade; iii) Canada’s new security priorities; and iv) START’s and Canada’s niche and comparative advantage in relation to other international actors. Given the broad scope of its mandate and limited funding, START should focus on fewer projects in a smaller number of priority countries and thematic areas in which Canada has key interests where it has a comparative advantage and where GPSF funding is commensurate with the problems to be solved.
Recommendation #2: START should re-introduce longer-term strategic planning for major programming themes and promote sustainable results, while retaining its ability to respond quickly to emerging and evolving needs.
If funding for START gets renewed, the Program should re-introduce strategic planning at all levels: overall program, country/regional and thematic along with develop a whole-of-government approach to crisis response and stabilization initiatives. Besides the strategic objectives, the plan should clearly outline the expected results for priority countries and thematic areas. For example, START should incorporate any major specific thematic areas, such as SGBV or sexual violence in conflict, at the strategic planning and policy levels, and clearly define the thematic areas’ mandates, objectives and scope of activities. Given Canada’s commitment to UNSCR 1325 on WPS, START should continue its international advocacy to protect women’s human rights in conflict situations, and promote their inclusion and participation in peace processes.
Annual updates and adjustments of the Strategic Plans reflecting the evolving international context and Canadian priorities will enable to Program to promote sustainability of results.
Further, START’s strategic plan should be integrated in the overall GC framework that identifies all GAC and OGD programming for each priority country (as discussed in Recommendation #3).
Having a portion of the budget earmarked for quick response to emerging needs, which was one of START’s unique strengths, would enable the Program to respond in a timely way to new crises situations. The project approval process would also need to be expedited by respective delegated authorities.
Recommendation #3: START should continue improving its coordination with other GAC policy and programming streams, particularly with development, both at HQ and in the field.
START should strengthen coordination with other GAC security, development and humanitarian assistance programs. At the corporate level, START along with other program, policy and geographic bureaus and divisions should establish a more formal mechanism to promote coordination on policy issues and programming in fragile and conflict-affected states. Having an integrated, unified project database would also facilitate information sharing among streams.
While coordination among GAC programs has improved in certain conflict-affected countries over the last few years, further work is needed to support the development of an integrated GAC operational framework, particularly for priority countries where all streams engage in programming. The country analysis should assess the issues, gaps and the roles of key international actors in each sector or thematic area of relevance to the GC and GAC. The integrated framework should identify GAC’s overall objectives and expected results in each particular country and context (e.g. protracted vs. rapid-onset crisis), and outline the respective roles/responsibilities and planned projects for each programming stream. Such country frameworks would help promote coordination and potential linkage between Humanitarian Assistance, Security, Development and OGD programming where possible. Given its limited field staff, START should find ways to better utilize GAC’s development resources, where possible, for project monitoring and policy dialogue.
Given the evolving nature of peace and security policies both internationally and within the GC, START should review its policy leadership role vis-à-vis other GAC and OGDs’ centres of policy expertise in the areas of peace and security (e.g. DND, PS, etc.). Some changes within GAC, introduced after the establishment of START, such as the emergence of new bureau and centres of policy and security programming expertise, as well as the recent amalgamation of DFAIT and CIDA, call for a major review of START’s/IRP’s policy leadership role and the strategic guidance it provides to programming. Program officers indicated that there has been a growing disconnect between policy and programming within START, partly due to the 2009 split in the functions but also to the directed type of programming that would often require policy guidance and expert advice beyond START’s original mandate. Over the past five years, project officers have increasingly sought thematic and country-related policy guidance from divisions outside START, such as IOL, International Humanitarian Assistance Operations (MHI), International Humanitarian Assistance (MHD), International Assistance Envelope Management (PCD), etc. While this was not necessarily seen as a weakness of START, feedback from program officers and managers reiterated the need for stronger links and coordination between peacekeeping and stabilization policies and programming within the bureau.
Recommendation #4: START should strengthen its performance measurement systems and practices at the overall program, country, thematic and project levels.
START should strengthen its performance measurement systems. At the program and country levels, START should develop new logic models that better reflect its updated mandate and expected quantitative/qualitative results. At the project level, START should refine its tools and system for monitoring and reporting longer-term (intermediate) outcomes, and aggregating those results to assess its impact in each thematic area and at the country-program level. That data should be systematized in annual results reports by country and thematic area, which START could roll up as part of its global program review.
For multi-year projects, annual reporting should show cumulative results to date. Project reporting templates should be modified to focus on results and lessons learned, rather than activity-based reporting. START should provide RBM training for its staff and key partners to improve results monitoring and reporting. It should earmark funds for systematic, periodic, independent monitoring and evaluation of country programs, larger projects, partners and thematic areas.
Last but not least, START should align its SSPMT with the strategic outcomes and related activities in the revised Logic Model, to allow the generation of quick and reliable reports using the tool.
Recommendation #5: START should increase gender-focused planning and programming, and improve the integration of gender considerations in all projects across thematic areas and priority countries.
At the programming level, START should consider adopting a minimum allocation target of its programming budget for gender-focused initiatives. For example, the UN has established a target of 15%. In addition to gender-focused programming, START should integrate gender considerations and analysis into all projects across the various thematic and priority areas. START should develop a gender strategy at the overall program, thematic, country and project levels that considers the gendered impact of projects and identifies ways to increase women’s meaningful inclusion and participation. Gender-related issues should be integrated across the project cycle: design, implementation, reporting, monitoring and evaluation. Projects should define expected gender-sensitive indicators and results, allocate specific resources to achieve those results and collect sex-disaggregated data. START should consult gender specialists in HQ and the field when designing its gender strategy.
Improved coordination with GAC’s Development and Humanitarian streams would help START identify the type of programming that would help reduce gender-based violence in the context of conflict and state fragility, and increase women’s participation in stabilization and peacebuilding initiatives. Gender training should be provided to all START staff to build capacity and awareness of gender issues in conflict and crises situations, and how to integrate a gender perspective into projects. START could also draw upon international training tools, best practices, and results frameworks related to gender mainstreaming in peace and security programming from like-minded partners and multilateral organizations, including the NGO Working Group on WPS.
10.0 Management response and action plan
|Management Response & Action Plan||Responsibility Centre||Time Frame|
|Agreed. Further to a reassessment of START’s mandate, in May-June 2016, a renamed PSOPs received a renewed Government of Canada mandate for three fiscal years, which will enable improved strategic planning and identification of priorities||IRC, IRG, IRP, IRH||Done (July 2016)|
|PSOPs will adopt a three-year strategy and implementation plan, which has been widely consulted within the Department, and with other departmental partners. Based on a reassessment of its strategic objectives, the Strategy will outline overall program, country or regional, and thematic priorities. This document will be updated annually to reflect the rapidly evolving circumstances in the fragile states in which the Program operates. (The three-year strategy was not approved before March 2017; however, the draft guided PSOPs’ work in its first year. An update has been drafted and will be submitted for approval in July 2017.)||IRC & IRG||Summer 2017.|
|PSOPs undertook a modest reorganization in the summer 2016 to ensure an optimal balance of strategic policy advice, applied policy for PSOPs programming, and operational responsiveness for international crisis management. We will re-evaluate the need for further changes in fall 2017.||IRD||Fall 2017|
|PSOPs will work to strengthen the links between policy and programming divisions in terms of peace and security within the branch, in order to ensure timely policy input to programming and rigorous feedback from programming to policy leads. In addition, the Program will support the work of the geographic branches to ensure policy and programming coherence in fragile and conflict affected states and regions, as well as continue to strengthen integrated approaches across Global Affairs Canada, including through the Integrated Country Framework process, led by the geographic branches||IRP, IRG, IRC, IRH||End of Program Authorities March 2019|
|The evaluation of START identified resource gaps, as well as other challenges resulting from repeated short-term Program renewals. A three year mandate renewal will help in some regard, but will still pose some challenges to efficiencies and sustainability of results. PSOPs is working through annual budget processes for increased resources to support recommendations built on best practice for delivery mechanisms, particularly for stabilization programming.||IRC, IRD||Spring 2018|
|Management Response & Action Plan||Responsibility Centre||Time Frame|
|The establishment of major policy and programming themes and expected results in the Strategy and the Implementation Plan will facilitate the measurement of results and the identification of lessons learned, including for sustainability.||IRC||Completed|
|The Program will further reinforce its flexibility and ability to respond quickly to relevant emerging crises by setting aside an emerging crisis reserve, in addition to maintaining and refining business processes that allow for rapid response.||IRG, IRC||Completed|
Management Response & Action Plan
Agreed. PSOPs will ensure a systematic approach to coordinate its programming within the Branch, with the geographic branches, and with other GAC policy and program units, including development. For example, networks already exist for key areas, such as South Sudan crisis response and Women, Peace and Security. Also, the new business process includes specific direction to programming teams on ensuring coordination across the department, including working with geographic branches which have the overall responsibility for regional and in-country policy and programming coherence and integration. PSOPs, working in conjunction with other branches within the department, will encourage the establishment of new networks where thematic or regional needs make it necessary and build on the priorities of the new international assistance policy. The Program will feed into the geographic branches’ programming coordination efforts and will also continue to strengthen integrated approaches in peace and security across Global Affairs Canada and the Government of Canada, including through the Integrated Country Frameworks process, led by the geographic branches.
IRC, IRP, IRH, IRG
One of the key priority areas identified in the three-year Strategy is strengthening whole-of-government coordination and responses to international crises (in particular in ODA eligible countries where there is a whole of government response). To do so, PSOPs will continue to work closely with the geographic branches, other government departments such as National Defence (DND), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Public Safety Canada.
PSOPs has recently undertaken a consultative exercise to revalidate the procedures related to whole-of-government response to natural disasters.
Completed (March 2016)
PSOPs will support the development of integrated planning, including for civil-military cooperation, in response to international conflicts and complex emergencies. PSOPs will also develop Standard Operating Procedures for GAC and WoG responses to significant political crises, building on the existing approach for natural disaster response.
IRH, IRP, IRC
End of Program Authorities March 2019
Completed (September 2016)
IRG, IRP, IRH, IRC
End of Program Authorities March 2019
Management Response & Action Plan
Agreed. A new PSOPs Performance Measurement Strategy was recently approved. This document is consistent with and contributes to PSOPs’ Strategy and GAC plans and priorities, and will ensure PSOPs is able to monitor results and change course when needed.
Completed (April 2016)
In order to track results towards Program targets more systematically, PSOPs is introducing regular reports, drawn from both internal and external data sources, to better capture policy, advocacy, crisis response and coordination actions carried out by the Program, and results achieved.
Completed (July 2016)
We will also introduce Program-specific annual reporting, in addition to contributions to ongoing departmental reporting. Reporting will be results-oriented. This reporting will in turn inform any changes to the Performance Measurement Strategy.
Start June 2017, then annually
PSOPs will explore the introduction of more systematic monitoring of projects or thematic/geographic groups of projects, particularly securing the necessary subject-matter and evaluation expertise. Such systematic monitoring would assist the program to assess progress towards results, identify lessons and good practices that will inform future programming, as well as permit ongoing risk assessment.
PSOPs will form a lessons learned working group in order to develop an internal system for ongoing gathering and dissemination of lessons learned, as well as their systematic incorporation into planning processes.
|Management Response & Action Plan||Responsibility Centre||Time Frame|
|IRP, IRG, IRH, IRC||Ongoing (funding for additional FTEs not secured; PSOPs will seek further funding opportunities)|
|IRG, IRC, IRP||Ongoing (funding for additional FTEs not secured; PSOPs will seek further funding opportunities)|
|The adoption of a gender-based approach also supports PSOPs’ implementation of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security and UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Consideration of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) issues will be an overarching priority across PSOPs’ activities, actively integrated into its country, regional, and multilateral programming initiatives.||IRP, IRG, IRC||Ongoing|
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