ABOUT THIS SECTOR
The EU supports partner countries around the world in their efforts to secure lasting peace, promote their political stability or rebuild societies and infrastructures after crisis situations. The EU's priorities in this field are to promote good governance, establish the rule of law, fight against crime and strengthen law enforcement.
Wars and armed conflicts have devastating human and societal impacts, such as wide-spread violence, the tragedy of refugee camps, accelerated spread of HIV and the destruction of lives, livelihoods, state institutions and infrastructure. Such calamities can cripple a country for generations. The EU supports initiatives aimed at eradicating some of the leading causes of conflict, safeguarding stability and reestablishing peace after a crisis.
Alleviating poverty, tackling disease and promoting good governance help to shape societies where all are given a chance to thrive, and they also address a number of potential causes of unrest. EU development work uses non-military means to support the peaceful prevention or resolution of armed conflict through activities such as negotiation, demobilisation and demilitarisation. It also supports:
the rule of law (e.g. availability of judges and lawyers);
civil administration (establishing a group of experts);
civil protection (experts and emergency teams that can be mobilised at very short notice).
In post-conflict states
, the EU supports disarmament and arms-control measures in the framework of the UN Conference on Disarmament
. The scope of this activity encompasses small arms, light weapons and other conventional weapons as well as biological and chemical weapons. The EU also contributes to international efforts to ensure nuclear safety.
Illicit firearms include small arms and light weapons, anti-personnel landmines and explosive remnants of war ( i.e. explosives, ammunition, failed ammunition and explosive projectiles). They perpetuate humanitarian crises, threaten peace processes, fuel crime and terrorism, put national and regional security at risk, undermine conflict prevention programmes, jeopardise social and economic rehabilitation and complicate post-conflict reconstruction. They therefore represent an obstacle to the safety, wellbeing and livelihood of populations and to the transition of states from crises towards post-conflict survival as well as towards sustainable development and long-term stability.
A precondition for development
Security and development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. No sustainable development is possible in a country threatened by internal insecurity, crises and conflicts – and development helps to attenuate many of the factors that can exacerbate political instability and unrest. Insecurity, crises and conflicts can also impede the efficient use of aid.
Their implications are manifest in the context of poverty alleviation, for example. The direct relation between high levels of armed violence and macro- and micro-indicators of poverty is well documented. This relationship is further compounded by the increasingly complex nature of causes of poverty and insecurity.
Today's threats to development, security and stability notably include energy dependence, the consequences of climate change (e.g. drought, food and water shortages, desertification, flooding), the absence of global governance for information and communication technologies, the radicalisation of ideologies or religions, the illegal and uncontrolled use of natural resources, the weakness of a state's structures and infrastructures as well as the misuse and abuse of critical hubs, such as air and maritime space, cyberspace and financial markets. None of the key threats can be tackled by military means, but all can provoke violent and armed responses.
The European Union views security as a prerequisite for development. It has, therefore, been devoting considerable attention to this aspect in its cooperation with partner countries for many years, and supports many states and communities destabilised by crises or political fragility.
Dealing with crises, addressing risks
Depending on the circumstances, the EU can provide short-term help, for example in countries where a crisis is unfolding, or long-term assistance, notably to tackle global and transborder threats and build capacity for lasting peace.
Complementing the geographic instruments deployed to finance the EU's development cooperation, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) is the European Commission’s main thematic tool supporting peace and security in partner countries.
According to the Regulation establishing the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), the specific objectives of this Instrument shall be:
- In a situation of crisis or emerging crisis, to swiftly contribute to stability by providing an effective response designed to help preserve, establish or re-establish the conditions essential to the proper implementation of the Union's external policies and actions in accordance with Article 21 TEU;
- To contribute to the prevention of conflicts and to ensuring capacity and preparedness to address pre- and post-crisis situations and build peace; and
- To address specific global and trans-regional threats to peace, international security and stability.
Thus under the IcSP, it is possible to provide 'assistance in response to situations of crisis or emerging crisis to prevent conflicts' (Article 3 of the Instrument) as well as programmable projects relating to conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis-preparedness (Article 4) and addressing global, trans-regional and emerging threats (Article 5).
The IcSP Regulation is based on both Article 209 'Development Cooperation' and Article 212 'Economic, Financial and Technical Cooperation with Third Countries' (other than developing countries) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, giving a worldwide scope action to this instrument.
In addition to its wordwide scope, which allows the IcSP to support global and trans-regional actions potentially involving all kinds of countries (i.e. fragile, developing, emerging, in-transition, industrialised, candidate or potential candidate countries), the IcSP is not tied to Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility requirements.