It is now widely recognized -- including in the highest-level policy statements of the United Nations, European Union, African Union and NATO -- that managing conflict requires a multidimensional, comprehensive, whole-of-government or integrated approach. All these approaches have a similar aim: to achieve greater harmonization and synchronization among the international and local actors, as well as across the analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the program cycle. One-dimensional or single-facet conflict-management responses are now viewed as superficial and counterproductive, in that they address only some aspects of a wider system. They thus tend to distort, shift or redirect tensions in the system, rather than dealing with the root causes of the conflict in a coherent or comprehensive manner.
At the national level, several governments have been experimenting with improving the coherence among their own ministries or departments, with a view to improving the overall effectiveness of their international operations. These initiatives are now referred to as the "whole-of-government" approach. The Canadian government may not have been the first to develop such an approach, but it coined the "3D" concept -- diplomacy, development and defense -- which has so succinctly captured the essence of the whole-of-government framework. ...
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