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Challenges and positive prospects: the first weeks of the EU Advisory Mission in Bangui

08/09/2020 - 12:01
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Deploying a CSDP mission on the ground is exciting and challenging for the staff members who solve daily multiple challenges - rendered more complex by the global pandemic Covid-19. However, despite the delays in deployment and surprises created by the unforeseen pandemic, the EU Advisory Mission has met expectations on time.

the first weeks of the EU Advisory Mission in Bangui

The timely finalisation of a Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA), one of the key documents of a mission as its sets out the status of a CSDP Mission in its host country, is among the first milestones of the Mission’s presence in Bangui.

Living the core mandate: strategic advising on the reform of the country’s internal security forces

The Mission has started to live its core task in Bangui which is to support the reform of the Central African Republic’s internal security forces by building relationships with the national counterparts and liaising with its international partners. The Central African authorities and their international partners already established in the country have warmly welcomed the EU Advisory Mission. This positive reception provides the Mission with good prospects for the implementation of its advisory activities. In a short period of time to the Mission advisors have visited all the high instances of the State, various internal security interlocutors, notably the Minister of Interior and the General Directors of the security forces, as well as representatives and institutions of the justice sector. The Mission had also the opportunity to visit the penitentiary system to receive a glimpse into the realities in this sector strongly affected by shortages, which put the lives of detainees at risk.

Functional logistics enable the proper running of the Mission

From a logistical point of view, starting a mission demands vigilance and long working hours to ensure that conditions to run a mission are met. Necessary IT equipment was provided by the CPCC/FPI-enabled Warehouse for civilian CSDP Missions, located in Southern Sweden, to the core team in Bangui. The Military Planning and Conduct Capability, the sister organisation of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability, provided further support by transporting the core team in military planes from Europe to Bangui allowing thus a swift deployment. The EU Advisory Mission has furthermore started to scout the real estate market in Bangui for a new HQ building.

Central Africans say that patience will cook a stone

The Mission members in Bangui acknowledge the growing expectations towards the mission and the existing cultural differences, which will set a learning process. Beyond that, quarantine requirements for staff travelling from Europe requires patience and the upcoming elections with its campaign period will also test the Mission’s freshly established daily routine. But, like a Central-African proverb goes, patience can cook a stone - there is no problem that can’t be overcome with patience and determination. This proverb epitomizes the positive spirit of the EU Advisory Mission in Bangui.