Now more than one year since the start of pandemic, Covid-19 continues to be the a dire and difficult enduring challenge for the approximately 2,100 staff of the 11 civilian CSDP Missions deployed in Africa, the Middle East and Europe as well as for the around 100 staff at the CPCC, the operational headquarters (OHQ) in Brussels. We mourn two Mission members that died of Covid19-related complications. We are constantly deliberating over Mission mandate implementation, weighing risks and duty of care to ensure sustainable operations. This includes for example adjusting the number of staff in the mission area to the existing capacities for medical evacuation, of which we so far have done 15 and coordinating all Covid-19 related requests and activities through the CPCC Corona Response Group. As we proceed, our hopes for a return to normality now rests with the vaccination campaigns that are ongoing in the Member states as well in some host nations. Our CPCC experts in the Duty of Care Section and of the Operational Support Division also work closely with the established vaccine Task Force of the EEAS and with other international counterparts to provide effective guidelines on how to safeguard our mission members as well as their local counterparts.
The effects of the ongoing pandemic on our civilian Missions and the Regional Advisory& Coordination Cell was naturally one of the issues thoroughly evaluated in the recent Heads of Mission seminar that was organised as a video conference. The seminar was honoured to feature dedicated interventions by the Secretary General of the EEAS and the Deputy Secretary General for CSDP&Crisis Response. Another focus was the exchange of views with high-ranking representatives of the European Union’s Justice and Home Affairs sector on an increase of cooperation and coordination.
The current overall ratio of women in civilian CSDP Missions stands as low as 24% and even lower (20%) in operational and management functions. A launched in April, is one of the concrete steps taken to change the current predicament. This programme, launched by the Berlin Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management, with the support of the CPCC and the EU Monitoring Mission Georgia, pairs 25 women mentees with 25 mentors (among them 10 men). Participants come from nine Missions and the Regional Advisory and Coordination Cell (RACC).
With the forming of a new Libyan government on 10 March, the Government of National Unity, the country’s political situation follows a positive trajectory. Whilst deliberations surrounding providing additional support to the Government of National Unity are advancing and modalities being scrutinised, the revision of the OPLAN of EUBAM Libya is progressing and was recently approved by CivCom. The next step will be to introduce the OPLAN to the agenda as a procedural point.
During his April visit to the Sahel, a region central to Europe’s security, the High Representative visited also the Regional Advisory and Coordination Cell in Nouakchott as well as EUCAP Sahel Mali in Bamako expressing his appreciation for their work aiming for a stabilisation of the region and carried out under challenging circumstances. .
The CPCC was among the key participants of the “EU Integrated Resolve 20”, a complex crisis management exercise to enhance the EU’s ability to coordinate and respond to external conflicts and crises, with a focus on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) planning processes and operational conduct in a hybrid threat environment, which is currently in its second phase.
None of our Missions would function without proper logistics. Important recent developments in the field of Mission support are following: CiMA, the Civilian Missions Application developed by an IT team in the the CPCC Missions Operational Support Division (CPCC.4), achieved new milestones in the recent weeks. Through CiMA, updated statistics can easily be retrieved as of June 2020. CiMA has also successfully managed its integration with Goalkeeper, a result of the cooperative work of both the CPCC.4 and the CPCC Missions Personnel Division (CPCC.3) team working on the parallel projects. CiMA team is now working on new IT services to facilitate the Call for Contributions and the Personnel Leaves modules.
Also managed by CPCC.4, a contract implemented by Airbus is now in its operational phase with the objective to strengthen CSDP Missions’ cyber posture and cyber awareness, with activities conducted this month to assess through an internal audit the cyber maturity level in the Missions.
On the logistics side, preparations are ongoing for the roll-out of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to EULEX Kosovo. The Council agreed to extend the Warehouse II agreement on 22 March, ensuring the security of services and supplies till May 2022. In the meantime, CPCC.4 is working on the feedback received from Missions to look at the needs to be addressed in the next generation of Warehousing arrangements.
The was delivered in April by the EU Member States. This is a significant step reconfirming the joint commitment by Member States to strengthen civilian CSDP. These National Implementation Plans will allow Member States to better develop the required capabilities for civilian CSDP in order to provide civilian CSDP missions with more and better qualified staff, including more women, in less time. This has already resulted in an 8.4 % increase of staff deployed in civilian CSDP missions.
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