Enabling partners to manage crises: From ‘train and equip’ to capacity-building

One important corollary of the Comprehensive Approach is the so-called ‘security-development nexus’, according to which security and development are two sides of the same coin. In any crisis situation, a decent level of security is a precondition to sustainable development, while development, in turn, allows for peace to endure.

Over the last two years, this nexus has led to fresh debates within the EU on how best to combine security activities – including CSDP operations – and the longer-term building of third states’ and international organisations’ capacity for crisis management. The African continent has been the primary focus of these discussions, mainly in the context of Mali and Somalia – where two EU training missions are deployed alongside a wide range of support activities – but also in the framework of EU support to the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

In these different cases, the provision of military equipment has been given particular attention. Both the December 2013 European Council and the April 2014 EU-African Union (AU) summit stressed the importance of enhancing partner countries’ capabilities through the supply of equipment, either as a complement to CSDP operations or as a separate measure.

The High Representative and the Commission were then tasked to further work on the issue and, on 28 April 2015, released a Joint Communication on ‘Capacity-building in support of security and development – Enabling partners to prevent and manage crises’. The forthcoming European Council is expected to give further guidance on the way forward.

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