Lesson 11: Partnerships I – Resources


The EU has developed complex and productive partnerships with a range of outside actors, whether international organisations (IOs), third states, and civil society groups. Such partners are also mentioned in many EU strategies and concepts related to CPP as part of the EU’s broader commitment to ‘effective multilateralism’ (see DL 2.1). One virtue of such partnerships is that they allow the EU to draw upon the expertise and, in some cases, the resources of like-minded actors in the realm of CPP. A second virtue, but also challenge, is the need for all outside actors in a host country to avoid working at cross-purposes (at a minimum) and to coordinate their activities to enhance their effectiveness (at a maximum); this issue of coordination will be examined in Lesson 12.

Several EU-CIVCAP outputs mention in various ways the important role of partners; DL 2.1, DL 3.2, DL 3.5, DL 4.1, DL 4.2, and DL 6.1 in particular provide various assessments of their capabilities, as well as the potential for further resource-sharing among these actors. For example, DL 2.1, DL 3.2, and DL 6.1 note the critical role of local civil society partners in implementing various CPP-related programmes, which can contribute to a sense of local ownership and ‘buy in’. This can be especially critical to make longer-term capacity-building programmes more effective and sustainable. External partners are also involved in Europe’s New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management. However, there is also a clear need to strengthen existing partnerships in this area and clarify how the EU defines and chooses its ‘local’ partners, as well as develop new ones as the EU increases its global CPP ambitions.

In addition, and while resource exchanges have been positive in the case studies assessed by DL4.2 (Kosovo, Mali, Armenia) and DL6.1 (the Western Balkans and the Horn of Africa), there is room for improvement. The EU for example does make staff contributions to other IOs for the purposes of CPP and related tasks; however these contributions are made by EU member states and this approach may limit the EU’s leverage in such cases. Similarly, the EU’s overall approach to resource exchanges (staff and otherwise) and capacity-building often does not seem to be driven by a broader political or strategic perspective to help it gain more influence in the host countries where such efforts occur. The EU has considerable financial weight in particular in many host countries, yet the divided control of such resources (through the EEAS and the Commission in particular) depending on their budgetary sources can undermine the EU’s pursuit of a more coherent and strategic approach.

Finally, the EU should be aware of certain risks unintended consequences involved in exchanging/sharing resources with certain actors, such as failing to match the spending levels of other donors in a major crisis or, conversely, generating feelings of resentment when providing resources (such as salaries) that greatly exceed the capacities of other donors seeking to help.


Develop a clear concept regarding the identification of external and local partners, and link it more directly to the EU’s overall strategic approach to CPP tasks. This should include a risk assessment about partnerships.

Related Deliverables

dl_2-1DL 2.1
Procedures, Personnel and Technologies for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding: An Assessment of EU Member States’ Capabilities

Authors: De Zan, T., P. Tessari and B. Venturi
Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali

Published: 30 November 2016

[PDF, ~2.1MB; click to access]

dl_3-2DL 3.2
The EU’s Capabilities for Conflict Prevention

Authors: Davis, L., N. Habbida and A. Penfrat
Institution: European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Published: 30 January 2017

[PDF, ~1MB; click to access]



DL 3.5
Report on the EU’s support to the conflict prevention work of other actors

Authors: Habbida, N., J. Adama Mohammed, K. Tumutegyereize, L. Heinzel, F. Colchester and D. Tucker
Lead Institution: European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Published: 30 September 2018

[PDF, ~0.7MB; click to access]


dl_4-1DL 4.1
Reacting to Conflict: Civilian Capabilities in the EU, UN and OSCE

Authors: Dijkstra, H.P. Petrov and E. Mahr
Institution: Maastricht University

Published: 2 November 2016

[PDF, ~1.6MB; click to access]


DL 4.2
Partners in conflict prevention and peacebuilding: How the EU, UN and OSCE exchange civilian capabilities in Kosovo, Mali and Armenia

Authors: Dijkstra, H., E. Mahr, P. Petrov, K. Đokić, P.H. Zartsdahl
Lead Institution: Maastricht University

Published: 4 September 2017

[PDF, ~0.6MB; click to access]

DL 6.1
Evaluating international efforts on local capacity building

Authors: Juncos, A.E., G. Algar-Faria, T. Edmunds, K. Đokić, E. Plänitz, K. Abdi and S. Simons
Lead Institution: University of Bristol

Published: 25 May 2017

[PDF, ~0.9MB; click to access]