The 'Whole of Government' approach in Afghanistan: An implementation analysis of Canada's governance and development policy in Kandahar 2008-2009

Southwood, W. Ryan
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University of Guelph

Canada spent a decade in Afghanistan (2001-2011) and for more than half of that time was in command of the NATO mission in Kandahar province. As such, Canada was responsible for assisting the provincial government with establishing security in the province; improving governance capacity within the provincial ministries; and creating an environment where economic development could flourish. To respond to these requirements, Canada partnered political and developmental officials with the military in the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in an effort to collaboratively solve the complex reality in the province. This research explores the implementation of Canada's development and governance policies in Kandahar province between 2008 and 2009. This is achieved through a review of academic literature on general policy implementation, implementation in the Global South, implementation in failed states and Canada's Whole of Government approach. The study describes a brief history of Afghanistan and Canada's role in the Global War on Terror. Through the use of document review, key informant interviews and the author's self reflection on his time in Afghanistan it was determined that, while Canada had lofty goals for Kandahar, the implementation criteria for the development and governance policies was not flexible enough to address the reality on the ground and respond to a deteriorating security situation and a lack of capacity in the provincial government. Canada did not allocate sufficient time for development and political officials to accomplish the stated goals and never fully understood the history or underlying issues that created the failed state. The study concludes by providing 11 recommendations that the Government of Canada should consider prior to becoming involved in development and government reform in a failed state scenario.

development policies, governance policy, policy implementation, government reform, governance capacity