Denmark Report


Policies Developed

Since 2010, all Danish policies related to prevention, stabilisation and development have been explicitly formulated as WGA strategies. This applies to general stabilisation strategies, stabilisation strategies at the regional and country levels, foreign policy white papers, and the government’s foreign and security policy strategy, which has been published annually since 2017. Since the WGA is also guiding Denmark’s strategy for development cooperation and humanitarian action, one can say that it goes beyond the relatively small programmes financed by the PSF. In doing so, the WGA is beginning to exert an influence on all Danish efforts at the nexus of security and development.
WGA mainstreaming is beginning to become evident, and a WGA mindset, so to speak, is becoming more widespread in the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence. Furthermore, it is noteworthy how the PSF has become a frame of reference for all related Danish strategy documents. This centrality is also reflected in the current guidelines for the PSF (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence 2018). They point out that the PSF is an integral part of Denmark’s Foreign and Security Policy Strategy 2017–2018, that its significance was reconfirmed in the current 2018–2023 Defence Agreement, and that it makes an important contribution to Denmark’s strategy for development cooperation and humanitarian action (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2017a).
In addition, 11 principles have been formulated to guide the implementation of Denmark’s WGA, including the projects funded by the PSF as well as the Danish stabilisation efforts funded by the defence and development budgets. Quoting verbatim from the guidelines (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence 2018: 5–7), these 11 principles are: (1) Whole of Government: Continues to constitute the underlying basis of the Fund and places it in an intersection between security, development and foreign policy, where efforts can be financed with both ODA and non-ODA funds and integrate with other Danish efforts in the areas of development, foreign affairs and defence. The Fund’s efforts can also support the coherence between internal and external security. (2) Regional focus: Takes advantage of the fact that the Fund is not country-specific since the conflicts the Fund focuses on usually have ‘spill-over’ effects in the surrounding countries, which means, among other things, that the Fund can also operate where Denmark has no actual development programmes and will in most contexts cover several priority countries. (3) Danish interests: The Peace and Stabilisation Fund (PSF) shall focus on efforts that are of particular importance to Danish interests, such as efforts to help prevent irregular migration flows and violent extremism as well as to contribute to stabilise regions in close proximity [to] Denmark. It is also possible to respond to Danish business interests with actions in relation to, for example, maritime security. (4) Partnerships and alliances: The PSF’s efforts ought, where feasible and relevant, to be implemented in partnerships and/or alliances with other relevant countries or international and regional actors, where ‘like-minded’ interests with Denmark exist, or where Denmark has an interest in strengthening the relationship. (5) Danish influence: The PSF efforts shall focus on Danish comparative advantages in regards to what Denmark can contribute to and with, and where Danish contributions can make a clear difference and add value. (6) Achievement of results: The PSF efforts often take place in complex and difficult contexts. Therefore, a realistic level of ambition is necessary regarding the results that the individual engagements and the overall programmes can achieve, also recognising that results generally require long-term perspectives and timelines. (7) Innovation and flexibility: Means that programmes are designed to ensure [that] efforts can be adjusted continuously and remain agile with a fast response capacity. At the same time, there is a willingness to test new methods, approaches and relevant thematic areas. (8) Risk tolerance: Means that the Fund, more so than other efforts, can support particularly risk-prone peace and stabilisation efforts of developmental or political nature. It will be important to consider how administrative challenges can be handled when implementing programmes in risk-prone contexts. (9) Emphasis on a programmatic approach that provides a long-term and predictable framework, where this is appropriate for achieving results with long-term effects and allowing for solid theories of change, but also recognising the need for flexibility within the timeframe. (10) Administrative resource base: Experience indicates that the presence of a Danish representation or embassy in or near the area of effort, or the deployment of advisors to anchor the administration of the PSF engagements, strengthens the implementation and monitoring and helps to support the overall Danish influence. Moreover, this helps to secure the necessary resources in regard to security needs. (11) Complementarity with other Danish efforts, which includes the avoidance of duplication and overlap.
These 11 principles are accompanied by six thematic priorities (again quoted here verbatim): (1) Directly stabilising efforts, which respond quickly to needs for safety and security, access to basic services, build-up of local resilience and reconstruction efforts in, for example, liberated areas in conflict-affected areas. (2) Preventing or countering violent extremism (P/CVE) with focus on, e.g., disengagement, preventive efforts, capacity-development of intelligence services and financial intelligence units, and other efforts that aim to counter terror-financing as well as promote human-rights compliant counterterrorism efforts. (3) Conflict prevention and conflict resolution, including capacity- and institution-building as well as political dialogue, reconciliation and potential transitional justice, including securing judicial evidence. (4) Security- and justice-sector efforts, focusing on developing the capacity of national and regional security forces, and their democratic oversight, who can partake in ensuring national security, international or regional operations/missions, as well as relevant areas of the justice sector, including Responsibility to Protect (R2P) (where possible), as well as focusing on ‘disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration efforts’ (DDR). (5) Countering transnational, organised crime and illegitimate financial flows, including networks that support irregular migration and human trafficking, which contributes to, among others, countering or preventing destabilisation of fragile regions. (6) Strengthening maritime security, e.g. through countering piracy and maritime crime by focusing on capacity-building-relevant authorities and information-collection and -sharing. In addition, focus on harmonisation of relevant laws, rules and strategies that deal with the countering and prosecution of regional maritime crime.
Finally, it is stressed in the guidelines that Denmark applies a “human rights-based approach”, and that it has zero tolerance for corruption. On the positive side, these principles and priorities allow for a lot of flexibility and agility, which enables Denmark to respond pragmatically to crises and requests from international partners. At the same time, one has to ask if there is anything Denmark cannot fund using these principles, and whether there is any prioritisation in Denmark’s WGA. One also wonders how Denmark copes with the dilemmas that arise during efforts to stabilise fragile states. In any case, it is certainly hard to think of a programme or an activity that meets all the Danish principles at the same time.
Back to Top