In December 2017, the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament (EP) adopted a regulation amending the Regulation establishing the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) in order to enable the EU to provide support for ‘Capacity building of military actors in support of development and security for development’ (CBSD). The same provisions were included in the proposal for a Regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) put forward in June 2018 by the European Commission (EC) for the EU’s next Multiannual financial framework (2021-2027).
In a contribution to the 2016 public consultation on CBSD, EPLO highlighted a number of risks involved in the initiative, including risks to human rights and peace, the risk of reinforcing oppressive and illegitimate power structures, and the risk of diverting human and financial resources away from existing civilian conflict prevention and peacebuilding measures.
Following the adoption of the new regulation, EPLO published a statement to provide recommendations to the EC, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and EU delegations (EUDs) on how to minimise the risks involved in the implementation of CBSD measures in partner countries in the coming years. The points raised in the statement included that:
- CBSD measures must be context-specific and part of a broader EU political strategy for long-term peace and development. They must facilitate longer-term reform processes in order to improve human security.
- The EU must ensure that CBSD measures do not strengthen unaccountable and corrupt institutions and their capacity for violence. The provision of IcSP support for CBSD should thus be conditional, inter alia, on:
- binding commitments from partner governments and military forces to adhere strictly to human rights standards regarding the treatment of all men, women, boys and girls coming under their jurisdiction;
- the existence of EU transparency and accountability mechanisms, and of robust civilian oversight of military forces in partner countries;
- the establishment of mechanisms allowing all members of the population, and especially the marginalised, to voice grievances, to engage with their security providers in order to communicate their needs and concerns, to develop solutions with them and to monitor the implementation of these solutions.
- The EU should design CBSD measures with the primary objective of reforming military forces to make them more transparent, accountable and respectful of the human rights of all people coming under their jurisdiction.
- The EU should also use CBSD assistance to provide support and training to civil society actors, including men, women, boys and girls from diverse segments of society, to develop their capacity to monitor the actions of military forces.
- During each of the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) phases of CBSD measures, the EU should systematically:
- conduct rigorous conflict analysis which integrates gender analysis;
- assess the (potential) impact of each CBSD measure beyond immediate military capabilities in order to ensure that it is conflict- and gender-sensitive, that it does no harm and that it actively contributes to human security and sustainable peace;
- actively involve inclusive civil society, ensuring the full participation of diverse women, men, girls and boys, including in the above-mentioned conflict analyses.
- The EU should monitor and evaluate CBSD measures based on their broader impact, and assess in particular whether they contribute to improving people’s perceptions and experiences of security (i.e. M&E processes should not simply describe how many members of the military forces were trained or how much equipment was provided to them).
- When engaging in CBSD measures with a training component, the EU should insist on the inclusion of male and female civilian expertise, and should involve inclusive civil society organisations when possible.
- Article 3a of the amended IcSP Regulation prohibits the use of IcSP funding to finance ‘the procurement of arms and ammunition, or any other equipment designed to deliver lethal force’. In addition to respecting this legal requirement, the EU should clarify the types of equipment which can be provided as part of CBSD in general and as part of each CBSD measure, in order to ensure transparency and to facilitate monitoring by civil society. The EU should also ensure that IcSP funding is not used to finance the provision of equipment which can be used to violate human rights. Similarly, it should clarify how it will ensure that the equipment will only be used by the intended recipients, and it should lay out what measures are foreseen in cases when the said equipment is not used by the intended recipients and/or for approved uses.
If you would like to read these (and other) recommendations in more detail, please consult the above-mentioned EPLO statement on CBSD. As the EU is looking to maintain CBSD in its next Multiannual financial framework – and possibly to expand the scope of EU capacity building activities through the European Peace Facility –, it is essential for the EU to ensure that CBSD measures do no harm and contribute positively to human security and sustainable peace in the contexts in which they are implemented.
Lorenzo Angelini is the Policy Officer responsible for EPLO’s work in pursuit of its Policy Objective 3 (To integrate peacebuilding into EU development policy, programmes and approaches).
 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, COM(2018) 460 final (see Title I, Article 9), pp. 31-32.
 This also includes non-binary people.
 One of the three pillars of High Representative Mogherini’s Proposal for a Council Decision establishing a European Peace Facility would consist in “capacity building activities in support of third countries’ armed forces in pursuit of CFSP objectives” (p. 2).