Lesson 07: Concepts


EU strategies for various aspects of conflict prevention and peacebuilding (including the EU Global Strategy), whether in functional/technical or geographic terms, must be supported by specific concepts in order to implement them. In other words, clear and consistent EU concepts/doctrines provide specific guidance about how the EU expects to achieve its strategic goals regarding certain external conflict prevention and peacebuilding challenges. Although the EU has made great progress in producing various concept and guidelines papers since the late 1990s, there is still some room for improvement here.

For example, DL 2.1 notes the EU needs to ensure a common understanding of various situations/challenges regarding conflict prevention and peacebuilding. It also found that the use of ICT resources for early warning in particular was not being leveraged very effectively. Therefore a concept paper (or similar document) to raise awareness across the EU might be useful toward these ends.

Echoing this point, DL 3.1 found that there is a need for the EU to reflect upon how new technologies such as ICT and Big Data could be added, in a sustainable manner, to the existing technological tools for early warning and conflict analysis. In addition to improving material resources/staffing in this area, a concept paper or similar document might help the EU make better use of new technologies. This would also help to assure that technological tools for early warning and conflict analysis are aligned closely with EU policies on conflict prevention and vice versa.

Similarly, DL 3.2 concluded that EU should clarify how it aims to promote conflict prevention; more specifically, the EEAS/Commission could be more effective in terms of mainstreaming the EU’s view of conflict prevention across different bureaus, which might require clearer concepts/guidelines as well as training. Within the EEAS/Commission, they need to ensure that PRISM and DEVCO B.7 continue to provide leadership, technical support, and expertise within the EEAS, DG DEVCO and across the EU’s external action machinery, which also points to clearer and consistent concepts/guidelines in this area.

Finally, DL 4.1 noted the EU’s Warehouse 2.0 concept to enhance mission support, but also noted that individual missions still have primary responsibility over procuring resources. The newly established permanent Mission Support Platform might help in this regard, although it is likely to be small (at least at first) relative to UN mission support resources.


With new concept/guideline papers as well as training, raise awareness and share expertise regarding EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding goals in general as well as the specific capabilities provided by ICT/Big Data resources and by EU stakeholders (PRISM and DEVCO B.7). Enhance the conceptual as well as material/staffing basis of the EU’s Warehouse 2.0 and Mission Support Platform concepts.

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_3-1DL 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: EC EEAS UN

Policy phases: Planning Implementation

Conflict-cycle stages: Conflict prevention Conflict management

Cross-cutting issues: Warning-response gap

Topics: Personnel Technology

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