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The crisis has also highlighted the need to improve governance practices and institutional capacities to enable the people of Mali to exercise their rights in full, including the right to security and justice. Reinstating security and lasting peace in Mali is of crucial importance for Africa and Europe. EUCAP Sahel Mali is an important element of the regional approach taken in the European Union strategy for security and development in the Sahel.
The mission provides experts in strategic advice and training to the Malian Police, Gendarmerie and National Guard and the relevant ministries in order to support reform in the security sector. EUCAP Sahel Mali supports the desire of the Malian state to modernise its security forces and enable them to respond more effectively to the need for protection of the entire Malian population throughout the country. It constitutes an important element of the regional approach in the European Union's security and development strategy for the Sahel.
On 15 April 2014, the Council of the European Union approved the mandate of EUCAP Sahel Mali (Council decision 2014/219/CFSP).
In support of Mali's active efforts to restore state authority, and in close coordination with other international partners, particularly the Delegation of the European Union and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), EUCAP Sahel Mali is providing assistance and advice to the national police, the national gendarmerie and the national guard in the implementation of the security reform set out by the new government, with a view to:
Following a strategic review of the mission in 2016 - after the first 18 months in Mali - two main recommendations were made:
These recommendations were incorporated in renewed mandate that was adopted on 11 January 2017, the Council of the European Union. The renewed mandate extends the Mission until January 2019 and includes a reference to ‘the Accord for Peace & Reconciliation’ and Instructions to contribute to the inter-operability & coordination of the internal security forces of the G5 Sahel countries and the Malian internal security forces.
EUCAP Sahel Mali advises the Malian internal security forces and relevant departments to implement the security sector reform in Mali. The EUCAP advisors help their Malian counterparts to improve their national strategy for human resources, to modernise management practices and control of their services, and with the successfully recruitment of new staff within the Police, the Gendarmerie and the National Guard.
The mission is helping to set up a master plan for training, overhaul initial training (structures and content) and relaunch continuing training.
The EUCAP Sahel Mali experts provide training for the Malian Gendarmerie, Police and National Guard. The ultimate goal is to train a critical mass of the personnel of the internal security forces.
The training will cover subjects such as management and command, professional ethics, human rights and gender equality, intelligence techniques, professional intervention, criminal policing, counter-terrorism and public order. The training is primarily addressed at senior and intermediate staff. Each member of staff will receive individual training lasting 100 hours over 4 weeks.
In order to promote local ownership, the mission will also train trainers who, in turn, will pass on the training outcomes to future trainees. The commanders of the forces select the staff who will take the EUCAP training, with the support of the training advisers.
To fully exploit synergies and the complementary abilities of its partners, EUCAP Sahel Mali works in close collaboration with other international and European players present in Mali and with civil society.
For example, training courses and actions are organised jointly with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the EUTM Mali military training mission in order to optimise support for the Malian state.
Civil society plays a fundamental role in supporting the reforms decided on by the government and ensuring they are understood by the population. EUCAP supports the contribution of civil society to designing the reforms, and in parallel civil society brings its experience to the implementation of EUCAP’s activities.
EUCAP also intends to cooperate with Parliament through dialogue with the committees involved in modernising the internal security forces, working transparently with the government. EUCAP’s cooperative actions aim to create a spirit of collaboration in order to set common, consistent objectives and maximise the effect of the external support provided to the internal security forces.
Support for stability and security in the Sahel is a priority for the European Union. The growing cooperation between the G5 Sahel countries (Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), their efforts to achieve a common approach to regional challenges and the need for joint responses create opportunities for enhanced support from the European Union.
The idea of creating the Regional Coordination Cell (RCC) is part of the EU's strategy - through its Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) - to establish security in the Sahel through three strategic objectives:
To achieve these objectives, the Council of the European Union has established a regional coordination cell within the EUCAP Sahel Mali, in essence a network one EU expert on internal security and one EU expert on defense in each of the G5 Sahel countries.
In close cooperation with existing CSDP missions in the Sahel, the objectives of the RCC are:
Internal security and defense experts collect information on security and defense issues in their host countries which they communicate with, where appropriate, recommendations to the head of the RCC.
RCC members will then make recommendations for a regional CSDP implementation plan in the Sahel in conjunction with existing EU Delegations and CSDP missions.
Philippe RIO, a senior French gendarmerie officer, was appointed Head of Mission of EUCAP Sahel Mali on 1 October 2017.
During his 37 years of service in the gendarmerie and in other civilian and military institutions, Mr. Rio has gained a wide range of police and crisis management experiences.
Prior to his appointment as head of the EU civil mission in Mali, he was successively: in charge of the military's external relations of the gendarmerie (2013-2015), including the preparation and conduct of the presidencies (CIMIN) of the European Gendarmerie Force in 2014 and the Association of European and Mediterranean Gendarmeries (FIEP) in 2015; commander of the European Gendarmerie Force (2015-2017); project manager at the General Inspectorate of the National Gendarmerie.
"My role will be to direct the Mission that advises the Malian authorities, including the ministers and the directors-general of the police, gendarmerie and national guard, and that provides training of the cadres of these forces."
(interview with Le Point, Oct. 2017).
Philippe Rio holds a university degree in literature, a master's degree in political science and is a patentee of the Joint Defense College. He was auditor of the regional session of the Institute of Higher Studies of the National Defense in 2003, as well as the high level course of the European Security and Defense College in 2010 - 2011.