Lesson 20: Post-mission sustainability


The deployment of EU personnel to conflict prevention and peacebuilding missions/operations in various host countries does not happen in an isolated fashion but is always embedded in a larger framework of external and local strategies. The strategies must encompass short and longer-term goals and plans to help ensure that peace is sustainable long after the mission ends (see also Lesson Identified 14). Thus, the implementation of EU-initiated agreements and policies also does not stop once the EU decides to pull out a mission or after the mandate ends. Of particular importance in fragile conflict-prone environments, a follow-up strategy is required to ensure a proper transition for sustainable and durable peace. In this sense, the planning and implementation of a phase-out strategy determines the legacy of a particular EU mission.

This problem was examined as part of DL 5.2, focusing on conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities in the Western Balkans, specifically the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and by DL 6.1 focusing on local capacity-building in the Western Balkans and the Horn of Africa. For instance, DL 5.2 argues for a clear post-mediation strategy to help overcome deep disagreements about the local implementation of the Brussels Accords, where concerns regarding this goal led to increased levels of local violence in the region. So far, however, the EU’s institutions involved in conflict prevention and peacebuilding have not shown much interest in the unintended sideshows accompanying the implementation of the dialogue. As a way forward, DL 5.2 calls for systematic political support from the EU for Track II and Track III dialogues, both within and between Kosovo and Serbia, to ensure an inclusive process and sustainable agreements in mediation dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. The EU’s political support should encourage national ownership of dialogue processes by recognising the importance of credible internal dialogues in both communities run by local actors such as national NGOs, enhancing its reach into the Track I dialogue. Track II dialogues could also be supported financially by the EEAS or the Commission. Finally, note that the goal of achieving post-mission sustainability is also highly contingent on the local capacities already present in the host country, as well as on the involvement of relevant local stakeholders, as discussed in Lesson 14 (Local capacity-building: Cases).


The planning/policy-making process for all conflict prevention and peacebuilding-focused missions and related activities should include a detailed analysis of the post-conflict environment that is being sought once the mission has ended. Toward this end, the mission mandate should include specific post-mission strategies to ensure the sustainability and durability of EU-implemented policies.

Related Deliverables

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 5.2
Report on impact of EU engagement on mediation and local
level dialogue initiatives in Western Balkans

Authors: Erik Plänitz and S. Stojanovic Gajic
Lead Institution:Roskilde University

Published: 30 November 2017

[PDF, ~1.3MB; 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]


DL 6.3
Report on best practices in EU local capacity building

Authors: Christie, R.G. Algar-FariaA.E. JuncosK. ĐokićM. IgnjatijevićN. HabbidaK. AbdiS. Simons and E. Gillette
Lead Institution: University of Bristol

Published: 24 September 2018

[PDF, ~0.7MB; click to access]