Canada's statebuilding efforts in Afghanistan are not well documented. After fourteen years of significant investments in humanitarian causes, there are still questions about the impact of these projects and whether they delivered as promised or fell short.
In Canada as Statebuilder? Laura Grant and Benjamin Zyla analyze over one hundred and thirty Canadian-led development projects in Afghanistan to illustrate that Canada has a limited capacity to effectively run humanitarian efforts in unstable, insecure, or inaccessible environments. Canadian or Canadian-sponsored development projects were ambitious and highly productive in terms of outputs in the short term, especially in the areas of security, women and gender, health, and education. However, when their outcomes and overall impact are assessed, the authors argue, Canada's record is less impressive. Their analysis contributes to evidence-based discussions of one of Canada's most important foreign policy activities in recent years.
Reflecting on Canada's engagement in Afghanistan, Canada as Statebuilder? asks whether Canadian peacekeeping efforts in the region were ultimately worth the economic and human resources invested.
About the authors
Laura Grant is a PhD candidate in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.
Benjamin Zyla is a visiting scholar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, University and associate professor, School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.
"A rich description of Canada's development efforts – and challenges – in Afghanistan." H. Christian Breede, Royal Military College of Canada and co-editor of Why We Fight: New Approaches to the Human Dimension of Warfare