Lesson 17: CSDP missions II – Planning & training


Following on from the issue of harmonising differences of interpretation regarding various aspects of conflict analysis (Lesson Identified 16), the EU also needs to link that general effort with the more specific decision-making, planning process, and training required to staff and launch a new CSDP mission. A key challenge here is that like other aspects of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, CSDP planning & training can involve a range of actors in Brussels (particularly within the Commission and the EEAS) and in EU member states depending on the nature of the mission; further, there is a distinct difference between military and civilian CSDP actions. If the EU hopes to close the civilian-military gap through the use of CSDP actions and other tools then it will have to find a way to streamline the overall planning process.

DL 3.3 in particular highlighted the importance of accurate conflict analysis as a factor in the success of civilian CSDP efforts, and notes that the planning process for civilian missions should take into consideration a deeper approach to such an analysis. This is especially critical when outlining the specific mandate and objectives of a new CSDP mission in terms of what specific types and sources of violence should be targeted by the mission in order to help prevent or resolve the conflict. In addition, the fact that such missions are often debated in response to a crisis means that the EU could help pave the way towards reaching an agreement more quickly by encouraging such reflection on the part of CSDP decision-makers.

Similarly, after the launch of a new CSDP mission, pre-deployment briefings and ongoing in-mission training could be useful to help reduce biases and harmonise the views of various staff regarding not just their tasks (i.e., what they do) but also the reasoning behind those tasks (i.e., the how and why of a particular conflict). This should involve intensive engagement with a range of stakeholders in the host country (public/private; state/societal) and with a view towards a shared understanding of the root causes of a particular conflict. This approach, in turn, should help facilitate a common view regarding whether a specific CSDP mission has in fact prevented or resolved a conflict in the long-term, as opposed to simply suppressing it temporarily and/or shifting its locus away from the geographic deployment area of the mission. This is especially critical as a ‘mission’ approach to the CSDP typically means that such missions should come to end at some point, although some CDSP missions have in fact been deployed for many years (as in the Balkans for example). All of these efforts towards cohesion, finally, may be aided by the adoption of a more open and cooperative ‘participatory analysis workshop approach’ to planning, staffing, and training, as reflected in the EU’s People’s Peacemaking Perspectives project.


The planning, staffing, and training processes for civilian CSDP missions should be explicit about exactly which dynamic and risk of violence is being targeted by the mission activities and how different conflict stakeholders will position themselves in relation to the mission; this should also involve a critical reflection on how and why the mission activities will be successful in overcoming the obstacles of the context in order to transform that dynamic or risk.

Related Deliverables

DL 3.3
Reports on integrating conflict prevention in CSDP, EU trade policy and EU development policy

Authors: Beswick, T., L. Angelini, L. Conti, S. Wander, C. Cogitore, A. PenfratB. Moore and N. Habbida
Lead Institution: European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Published: 30 November 2017

[PDF, ~1.4MB; click to access]