Denmark’s comprehensive whole-of-government approach (WGA) concept was introduced in 2004 as part of the 2005–2009 Defence Agreement in order to improve cooperation between Danish humanitarian organisations and the Danish military and to thereby enhance the effectiveness and visibility of all related efforts. The concept was launched in response to various problems encountered in Iraq, where the civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) model established during NATO’s KFOR operation in Kosovo proved unworkable due to the non-permissive environment, which made it impossible to get civilian experts and organisations to support the work of the Danish military contingent. After similar problems were encountered in Afghanistan, Denmark decided to formulate WGA strategies to help shape its efforts there. The lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan – in addition to inspiration from the United Kingdom, with whom Denmark cooperated closely in the field in both countries – resulted in the establishment of a WGA institutional framework in 2010.
This framework is composed of an inter-ministerial steering committee, an inter-ministerial secretariat and a Peace and Stabilisation Fund (PSF) for financing stabilisation activities in fragile countries. Since then, Denmark’s WGA has been strengthened by a general WGA strategy (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice 2013) as well as by a number of regional strategies and programmes, WGA programming guidelines, annual reports and increased funds (Jakobsen 2014). The Defence Agreement covering the 2018–2023 period will almost double the annual contribution to the PSF coming from the Ministry of Defence, from DKK 84 million in 2018 to DKK 150 million in 2023. These amounts highlight the principal shortcoming of Denmark’s WGA, namely, that the funds earmarked for WGA in the PSF (2018: DKK 477.1 million) constitute a very small fraction of the total amounts spent on defence (2018: DKK 22.496 billion) and development (2018: DKK 15.878 billion). This said, the WGA principles and the ideas behind the PSF are being embraced more broadly and are having more and more influence on the stabilisation activities funded by the defence and development budgets.