[Notice: if the photos don't show in your mail, please right-click the picture icon and choose "download pictures"]
Civilian CSDP Missions continue to carry out their mandates and support our partners despite the current pandemic. We remain engaged, even if, to protect our staff and partners from the virus, our activities sometimes needed to be adapted in how we carry out our tasks.
Civilian CSDP Missions remain active on the ground, both through personnel that remained in theatre and those that are teleworking from their respective home countries. Where possible, mentoring and advising of local partners continues also via e-mail, phone or video, thus maintaining the active communication and support as provided within the Missions’ mandates. Critical activities are being preserved such as the executive functions of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo and the visible monitoring of the Administrative Boundary Lines by the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. Another sign of continued operational activities are the ongoing Calls for Contribution to recruit staff for our Missions. Our command structures and methods showed their merit during the pandemic.
As security actors the current civilian CSDP Missions do not have a humanitarian assistance mandate, but within their mandates, means and capabilities, we have provided support, including specific advice to partners helping to address the pandemic - as part of the wider EU support delivered through the #TeamEurope effort. Several civilian CSDP Missions have also donated medical and protective equipment or are in the process of doing so. For example, personal protective equipment were donated to local partners in Mali, Palestine and Ukraine. A mobile clinic and a portable thermal imaging system was provided to our partners in Palestine.
The safety of the CSDP Missions staff as well as local partners and populations is always our first priority. We have from the start of the pandemic fully implemented the recommended precautionary measures. CSDP Missions are all advised to strictly comply with local health regulations and recommended precautionary measures. While we are not immune to the virus, thanks to the prudent and proactive measures taken, the situation remains under control with only very few confirmed Covid 19 infections in mission areas.
Where possible, preparations are ongoing to increase again the presence of international staff on the ground, aiming gradually and prudently to reach again normal strength, conditions allowing.