Lesson 03: Training


The EU and its member states have made considerable investments in training personnel for undertaking various conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, involving the establishment of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) and the New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management (ENTRi). ENTRi in particular has improved the training system for civilian personnel to be deployed in peace operations, in terms of standardisation and in addressing specific civilian tasks (i.e. ROL, SSR, DDR). However, EU-CIVCAP research reveals a number of areas of opportunity here.

Specifically, shortcomings were identified during both the pre-deployment and deployment phases of CSDP missions, involving training provided by the EU and its member states. DL 2.1 found that context-based training for personnel involved in CSDP missions is lacking, and that coordination with EU member states on specialised courses could be improved. This could involve greater consideration of various aspects of local ownership and a deeper understanding of the specific cultural and historical context. Synergies among civilian, military and police components also could be improved through joint practical exercises. Finally, de-briefing activities should be strengthened and training at the national level standardized.

Similarly, DL 4.1 found that pre-deployment training was not always sustainable in the context of conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, and that more resources for the ESDC in general and specific projects in particular could help to address this shortfall especially now that the ENTRi initiative is coming to an end. This would include pre-deployment training as well as relevant specialist training to contracted staff. All missions should have a specific budget allocated to pay for such in-mission training. Research in DL3.2 supports this lesson in terms of identifying a need to reinforce and tailor the support provided to EUSRs and heads of Delegations in charge of carrying out dialogue in conflict-affected countries (e.g. mediation and analysis training, support staff) and by including conflict expertise in their job descriptions.

Training problems could also be addressed by raising awareness within EU institutions and EU member states of the possibilities provided by ICT in conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, as determined by research summarised in DL 2.1 and DL 3.1. Timely and precise information is essential for supporting conflict prevention and peacebuilding goals and activities, while official EU documents maintain that the EU should try to prevent conflicts before their eruption, and, as such, early warning constitutes an essential tool. This could be especially beneficial during the conflict prevention phase (i.e., early warning and early response) in terms of providing training regarding: 1) familiarising staff involved in the early warning and conflict analysis cycle with the available tools; 2) the role of ICTs in generating, collecting, and sharing conflict-related data that might feed early warning systems; 3) a common understanding among policy-makers of what conflict prevention entails in practice; and 4) a common view of how the division of labour should be managed among various actors involved. These problems can be addressed in part through enhanced training activities, both at national level and EU level.


Enhance pre-deployment and in-mission training for mission staff and include conflict expertise in job descriptions for EU Delegations (e.g. conflict analysis, conflict prevention).

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 2.5: Dual use technologies and civilian capabilities: Beyond pooling and sharing

Authors: Aversano Stabile, A.A. MarroneN. Pirozzi and B. Venturi
Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali

Published: 25 September 2018

[PDF, ~0.5MB; click to access]


dl_3-1DL 3.1: Report on Technological Shortcomings in Early Warning and Conflict Analysis

Authors: Berglund, J. and D. Bruckert
Institution: European Union Satellite Centre

Published: 30 January 2017

[PDF, ~1.5MB; 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_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]

Related Lessons


Regions/countries: N/A

Institutions: ESDC EUSR

Policy phases: Planning Implementation

Conflict-cycle stages: Conflict prevention Crisis response Conflict management

Cross-cutting issues: Local ownership Warning-response gap

Topics: Personnel

Back to the Catalogue of Lessons Identified