NZ Inc: New Zealand’s Whole-of-Government Approach to Peace Support Operations
Into the late 1990s the international community began to develop new methods for assisting fragile states. It was recognised that development principles and practice were often insufficient to resolve the ‘complex operations’ they were entering. This was especially true when engaging states that lacked either the political commitment or the practical capacity to deliver basic social and public services. The defining feature of these operations is that assistance is required across all pillars of civil society – economic, law and justice, governance and public administration. Without effectively addressing each of these pillars there is a significant risk of systemic failure. A key challenge of engagement across these pillars is coordinating the growing number of contributions – both civilian and military. The whole-of-government approach has been promoted as a method to ameliorate this challenge. It is argued that the approach reduces departmental silos, promotes policy coherence, and provides efficiency while better addressing the complexity of the operating environment. While this may be true, the rhetoric is ill-defined and generates confusion as to what it means at a practical level. In short, it remains unclear how to achieve an efficient and effective whole-of-government approach or what that would actually look like. This thesis examines this dilemma and identifies the factors for successful implementation of New Zealand’s whole-of-government approach to peace support operations. Rather than concentrating on the formerly popular ‘machinery of government’ changes, this thesis argues that there are three overarching factors when implementing a whole-of-government approach. The first requirement is strategic direction from Government. This should come in the form of a national security statement and subsidiary individual country strategies. The second is culture change across the public sector. This focuses on the ‘soft issues’ such as organisational cultures, values and routines, professional beliefs, as well as institutional values and preferences. Significantly for peace support operations, this must be extended to promote a culture of education and awareness of host nation history and society. The third factor is accurate and flexible performance indicators and measurement to ensure that success can be identified and achieved. Effective execution of these factors will add value and promote excellence in New Zealand’s peace support operations.