Peace and Stabilization Operations Program

Learn about how the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) supports conflict prevention, dialogue, mediation, stabilization, peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery.

PSOPs is the Government of Canada’s principal platform for conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Known for its past international peacekeeping efforts, the Government of Canada continues to provide international security and stability.

PSOPs leads on setting policies and providing guidance for peace and stabilization programming within Global Affairs Canada.

Through gender-responsive and inclusive policy and programming, PSOPs supports timely assistance in fragile and conflict-affected states through conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding initiatives.

PSOPs provides quick and flexible funding for peace initiatives, generally through grants and contributions.

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About PSOPs

Global Affairs Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) is the Government of Canada’s principal platform for conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). PSOPs enables Canada to take rapid and coordinated action to prevent and respond to emerging and ongoing instances of violent conflict and state fragility.

PSOPS is:

  • a centre of expertise to support Canadian engagement in FCAS
  • the Government of Canada lead on the implementation of the global Women, Peace and Security agenda
  • the foreign policy lead for Canada’s participation in peace operations, with a focus on enhanced engagement with the UN
  • delivering agile, catalytic and risk-tolerant programming in FCAS
  • a platform for the deployment of police and civilian experts to FCAS and relevant international organizations

What are PSOPs’ core responsibilities?

PSOPs’ core responsibilities are:

  • providing policy leadership on peace and stabilization, including strategic coordination of Government of Canada responses to complex political crises
  • delivering conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding initiatives through both projects and deployments

Why is PSOPs’ work important?

When violent conflict and state fragility are left unchecked, the risk to international peace and security are great since such crises, which begin in one region, can quickly impact people living in another. The causes of violent conflict and state fragility are numerous and interconnected. Preventing and responding to such complex and dynamic issues requires a timely and coordinated effort from multiple Government of Canada departments, such as Global Affairs Canada, National Defence, Public Safety Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

How will PSOPs ensure that its policies and programs will have the greatest positive effect?

PSOPs’ programming is differentiated by its agility and responsiveness to the most acute risks of violent conflict, as well as by its innovation and leadership on key policy files.

PSOPs works to help ensure that Canada’s engagement abroad is well informed about conflict and instability in specific contexts and able to act on evidence-based prescriptions for what works to prevent violent conflict. PSOPs also listens to and is guided by the perspectives of affected populations in the planning and implementation of interventions.

PSOPs’ policies and programming seek to engage women and girls, as well as men and boys, as agents of change in peace and security efforts since supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. This gender-responsive approach makes PSOPs an important tool in the Government of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and its feminist foreign policy. It also makes PSOPs one of the tools through which Canada is implementing its National Action Plan 2017 to 2022 as part of its commitment to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda and its strong focus on gender equality as a foundation for peace.

Additionally, Canada has committed to a number of respected international frameworks in order to help local populations forge pathways out of fragility and conflict and toward lasting peace and security. PSOPs is directly informed by international good practices in conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding, as well as by evidence presented by the World Bank and the United Nations in their landmark publication Pathways for Peace (2018) on how to “prevent human suffering and avoid the exorbitant costs of conflict.” PSOPs’ efforts contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which commit all countries to work toward a peaceful and resilient world through inclusive and shared prosperity and respect for human rights. Specifically, PSOPs contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 16 [SDG 16] to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Further, PSOPs’ work aligns with The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.

History of PSOPs

Canada has a long history as a contributor to international peace, security and stability. In response to the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, Canada’s then foreign minister Lester B. Pearson proposed using soldiers in the service of peace—the UN’s first large-scale armed peacekeeping force. The next year, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of this enduring idea. Today, Canada continues to build on this legacy.

PSOPs was launched by the Government of Canada on August 26, 2016, to take concrete action to prevent and respond to emerging and ongoing situations of violent conflict and state fragility and in a coordinated, whole-of-government manner.

PSOPs is the successor to the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START), replacing both START and the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF). PSOPs builds on more than a decade of experience and achievements by START by drawing on lessons learned by Canada and the wider international community on how best to promote peace, security and stability.

How PSOPs works within Global Affairs Canada

PSOPs complements life-saving humanitarian assistance by addressing the factors that lead to the initial outbreak of violence and displacement of people. PSOPs’ work further helps to restore peaceful, secure and safe spaces so that displaced people can return to their homes.

PSOPs also lays the groundwork for longer-term poverty alleviation work funded by Canada’s development assistance. By working to prevent or resolve conflicts, we also help to safeguard the benefits of development assistance.

In addition, PSOPs’ work complements that of other cooperative security assistance programs delivered by Global Affairs Canada and its partners, namely, the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat Reduction Program and the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program.

Further, PSOPs plays an integration function within Global Affairs Canada and the Government of Canada. For instance, PSOPs works to strengthen Global Affairs Canada’s procedures and practices related to the analysis of fragile and conflict-affected situations. The objectives of such analyses are better-informed policies and programming.

Providing policy leadership on PSOPs

PSOPs seeks to use Canada’s influence among allies and partners to address violent conflict and state fragility and to support Canada’s commitment to advancing human rights, gender equality and inclusion.

Currently, PSOPs is the designated lead on setting policy and providing guidance for peace and security programming within Global Affairs Canada. For instance, PSOPs is the Government of Canada lead on Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and is a key player in leading the peace and security action area of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

PSOPs is also Canada’s centre of expertise to support Canadian engagement in fragile and conflict-affected states. For example, PSOPs provides policy advice to Canadian missions abroad and other government stakeholders seeking technical expertise on issues such as peace processes and security sector reform. To do this, PSOPs provides tools, analytics, lessons-learned and general guidance to support integrated peace-positive engagements.

Additionally, PSOPs works to advance innovative approaches to peace operations. For example, PSOPs:

To promote values that Canada considers important for building and sustaining peace, PSOPs provides policy leadership and advocacy at the UN and other multilateral fora, as well as bilaterally.

Working with domestic and international partners

To strengthen peace and stabilization operations, PSOPs works with a variety of domestic and international partners.

Domestic partners

PSOPs works with numerous domestic partners including the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence, Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of Justice Canada, Correctional Service Canada and other Government of Canada experts.

For instance, PSOPs plays a key role in deploying Canadian police officers from participating police services across Canada to multilateral peace operations and other stabilization-related missions. This takes place through a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, called the Canadian Police Arrangement.

PSOPs also manages the Civilian Deployments Platform, which deploys civilian Government of Canada experts to fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as to multilateral, regional and non-governmental organizations.

Multilateral organizations

PSOPs assists Canada’s efforts within the UN, including at the Security Council and where otherwise appropriate, to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of UN peace operations, reform collective peacekeeping and peacebuilding practices, and foster a rules-based international order. For example, PSOPs supports Canada’s participation in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security.

PSOPs also fosters working relationships with a host of multilateral organizations including, but not limited to, the African Union, the Commonwealth, the European Union, the International Network on Conflict and Fragility, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Organisation of la Francophonie, the Organization of American States and the World Bank.

Multilateral fora

Additionally, PSOPs actively supports Canadian leadership in multilateral fora in advancing policies on protection of civilians, atrocity prevention and issues concerning international compliance with international humanitarian law. PSOPs engages with the Montreux Document Forum, the Groups of Friends on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and the Global Network of R2P Focal Points. In April 2017, Canada appointed PSOPs’ director general as Canada’s national coordinator for the Global Network of R2P Focal Points.

Foreign countries

PSOPs works with a multitude of foreign countries in support of policy and programming objectives. For instance, as a member of the Stabilization Leaders Forum, which consists of a group of like-minded countries, PSOPs works closely to ensure a cooperative approach to addressing global stabilization challenges. Additionally, PSOPs also provides foreign countries with varying forms of security assistance (e.g. medical and demining equipment), legal assistance and other technical assistance.

Assisting fragile and conflict-affected states

Through gender responsive and inclusive policy and programming, PSOPs works to provide visible and concrete assistance in fragile and conflict-affected states. PSOPs supports timely conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding initiatives. In general, stabilization efforts are context-specific and aim to support political solutions to peacefully resolve violent conflict, improve basic security, enhance governance, address conflict drivers and/or open up a space for political dialogue.

PSOPs offers a variety of capabilities, used alone or in combination, to address the immediate drivers of violent conflict. They include:

  • aiding with programming in the form of grants and contributions
  • providing training and mentoring through the deployment of experts

Women and girls play vital roles in establishing and maintaining peace. Given their important role, PSOPs supports enhancing women’s active participation in conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding initiatives, and actively advocates for early and meaningful participation of women in peace and security efforts.

Programming

PSOPs manages the distribution of over $100 million per year in grants and contributions toward the ultimate goal of increased peace, security and stability for people, particularly women and girls, in fragile and conflict-affected states and situations. Projects undertaken by PSOPs are inclusive and gender-responsive, and aim to:

  • improve the prevention of violent conflict, responses to crises and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict affected areas
  • enhance responses to national and transnational threats by security institutions in fragile and conflict-affected areas
  • enhance multilateral prevention, mitigating and response to violent conflicts, threats, insecurity and fragility in the world

Consult the Project Browser for information on projects previously funded by the Government of Canada.

Police and civilian deployments

PSOPs plays a key role in deploying Canadian police officers from participating police services across Canada to multilateral peace operations and other stabilization-related missions. This takes place through a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, called the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA). With $46.9 million annually, the CPA is able to deploy up to 150 Canadian police officers each year. The women and men deployed through the CPA are supporting police in places like Haiti, Mali, Iraq and Ukraine to professionalize in order to better serve the public. They share knowledge and develop the skills of their policing counterparts on topics such as community policing, sexual and gender-based violence prevention, and the investigation of serious and organized crime.

PSOPs also deploys civilian Government of Canada experts in law, gender analysis, corrections, management, analysis and other areas to international organizations. These experts help advance PSOPs core objectives through their work, in organizations such as NATO in Afghanistan and Ukraine, the Special Criminal Court in Central African Republic and Justice Rapid Response in Geneva.

Programming portal for PSOPs

PSOPs supports initiatives that prevent, reduce or mitigate violent conflict and fragility in fragile and conflict-affected states by providing quick and flexible funding, largely in the form of grants and contributions. Potential recipients include, but are not limited to, Canadian international and local non-governmental organizations, multilateral institutions (such as UN agencies), academic institutions and foreign governments.

Applying for funding

Being mindful of the level of effort required to develop project proposals, PSOPs has adopted a streamlined two-step process to reduce the burden on applicants. First, the process involves the submission of an initial concept paper for assessment. Applications may be considered for funding if they are in line with PSOPs’ mandate and approach, and if the financial resources are available. Second, if the concept paper submitted is reviewed favourably, then the organization will be invited to submit a full proposal.

There are two ways to apply for funding from PSOPs with a concept paper:

  • applying through a call for concepts
  • submitting an unsolicited concept

Refer to the resources on this page before you begin to develop your unsolicited concept. Following the instructions below will give you the best chance of obtaining support for your initiative.

What you need to do to submit a concept for funding consideration

  1. Determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria
  2. Determine whether your project idea is in line with PSOPs’ mandate and approach
  3. Refer to the resources referenced below
  4. Prepare your concept paper
  5. Submit your concept paper

1. Eligibility criteria

Global Affairs Canada can only provide funding to legally incorporated entities. For Canadian organizations, your organization must be a legally incorporated entity with a Canada Revenue Agency number.

2. Resources

Please consult the following references to help you incorporate best practices into your initiative and application:

3. Prepare your concept paper

To be considered for funding, your concept paper must be complete, true and accurate.

Please limit your concept paper to a maximum of three pages in length and include the following information:

  • Organization information, including contact person
  • Organizational capacity to deliver the project, including previous experience with Global Affairs Canada and experience in project subject and geographic areas
  • Project title, notional budget, time frame and geographic scope
  • Initiative description, context description and problem statement
  • Description of the chosen approach to gender issues
  • Potential project risks and mitigation strategies
  • Expected results (including an indication of gender equality results)
  • Brief overview of intended activities

Please also include the following in your application:

  1. A signed Anti-Corruption Declaration [PDF]
  2. A signed Declaration Regarding Outstanding Debts Due to Her Majesty [PDF]
  3. Proof of legal status
  4. Financial statements (audited preferred) for the past two fiscal years

Your concept paper should avoid duplicating efforts from recent initiatives, and its rationale should be evidence-based. Consult the Project Browser for information on projects previously funded by the Government of Canada.

4. Submit your concept paper

Please submit your concept paper to PSOPs-application@international.gc.ca.

Send your documents in either English or French, or a combination of the two.

Submit your documents in any of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf.

Your initiative may not be supported if:

  • expected results as outlined in the concept paper are not fully aligned with the PSOPs’ mandate or Government of Canada commitments
  • your organization is ineligible for funding
  • you submitted an incomplete application package that did not allow for a full assessment of the initiative
  • elements of the proposal are assessed as weak
  • funding is not available

If your concept paper is accepted, you will receive an invitation to submit a detailed proposal for review by PSOPs. This invitation is not a guarantee of funding.

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