Guidelines provide basis for integrated approach to missions

Experience in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Kosovo has taught us that modern-day crises are exceptionally complex and have multiple causes. The Netherlands will only be able to address such situations effectively if we improve cooperation in a number of fields: defence, diplomacy, trade, justice, development cooperation and the police. The concept itself is not new, but until now there was no practical, knowledge-based tool to use to implement it. Now the tool exists, in the form of the Guidelines on the Integrated Approach.

The Guidelines were presented yesterday at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The document should help the Netherlands make a lasting difference when taking part in joint missions. The Guidelines include a step-by-step plan to help out the coordinated approach into practice.

Fragile states

The document can be consulted in shaping the Netherlands' integrated approach when the country takes part in bringing security and stability to fragile states and conflict areas. The Guidelines were drawn up by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security & Justice.

Logical moments

Lieutenant Colonel Björn de Heer of the Civil-Military Interaction Command believes that adopting an integrated approach in which all parties continually work to improve their joint performance is not simply a shared goal, but indispensable.

'Each ministry had - and has - its own procedures,' he explains. 'The Guidelines are designed to identify the main, most logical moments when joint action by all parties is crucial. Putting these thoughts and ideas about the integrated approach on paper is an important step. Now we have to put it into practice. That requires mutual commitment.'