On 27 March 2019, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a legislative resolution on the European Commission’s (EC) proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation (NDICI).
In this blog post, we try to assess what it might mean for the future of the EU’s support to peacebuilding and conflict prevention in its external relations and reflect on the extent to which it follows EPLO’s overarching recommendations on the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
An increase in the overall amount for the NDICI and support for the continuation of ‘crisis response’ actions but no increase in funding for the crucial thematic programme
We welcome the EP’s intention to increase slightly (+4%) the NDICI’s overall financial allocation above the level proposed by the EC and we hope that this can be translated into increased support for civilian peacebuilding activities. Similarly, we welcome the EP’s proposal to allocate € 2 billion from the NDICI’s rapid response actions pillar for ‘stability and conflict prevention’ as this should ensure the continuation of the ‘crisis response’ actions which are currently funded under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). Regarding the NDICI’s thematic pillar, we welcome the EP’s proposal to increase the financial allocation for ‘Human Rights and Democracy’ (+33%) but we are disappointed that it did not propose an equivalent increase for ‘Stability and Peace’ (i.e. the NDICI’s equivalent of the IcSP’s long-term actions).
Inclusion of a specific objective on conflict prevention
Since the EC published its proposal for the NDICI in June 2018, we have been concerned that it did not foresee the inclusion of the IcSP’s specific objective to build peace and prevent conflict. We therefore welcome the EP’s intention to include a specific objective on conflict prevention alongside the other objectives and hope that this will ensure that support for long-term civilian peacebuilding is not subjugated to other objectives such as migration management.
Reintroduction of specific peacebuilding actions across the instrument
Another cause for concern in the EC’s proposal for the NDICI was the lack of detail provided about the types of peacebuilding actions which might be supported under the geographic programmes, the ‘Stability and Peace’ thematic programme or the rapid response actions. In this context, we welcome the EP’s intention to re-introduce most of the specific actions which are currently set out in the IcSP (e.g. mediation, transitional justice, the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, the youth, peace and security (YPS) agenda etc.) in the various pillars of the NDICI.
More focus on conflict- and gender sensitivity, and a greater role for civil society
We welcome the EP’s proposal to include definitions of conflict sensitivity and gender sensitivity in the NDICI as well as its intention to ensure that conflict prevention, peacebuilding and the empowerment of women are all mainstreamed in NDICI programmes and actions. Similarly, we welcome the EP’s proposal for conflict- and gender analysis to be undertaken before the adoption of NDICI action plans and measures, and its intention to increase the conflict sensitivity of capacity building of military actors in support of development and security for development (CBSD). Finally, we welcome the EP’s various proposals to increase the involvement of civil society actors in the design and implementation of NDICI programmes and actions, which should help to increase their effectiveness.
The legislative resolution marks the end of the EP’s first reading of the NDICI proposal. EU Member States now have to adopt their position before inter-institutional negotiations (trilogue) can begin (possibly in early autumn). In the meantime, EPLO will continue to engage with the co-legislators to ensure that the EU maximises its support for peacebuilding and conflict prevention after 2020.
Ben Moore coordinates EPLO’s Funding for Peace Working Group.
Colin Cogitore is providing support to EPLO’s Funding for Peace Working Group.