D 3.6 Africa: Discussion report
Lead beneficiary: Royal Danish Defence College
Delivery date: 09/05/2017
One round-table event was organised within the framework of Work Package III, part of the IECEU project. The events focused on the WP3’s four case studies: Libya, CAR, South Sudan and DRC. This report provides information on the round-table event and presents the main points of discussion that emerged during it.
The round-table discussion and the subsequent seminar on the Effectiveness of International Assistance and Local Ownership in the four case studies was organised by the Royal Danish Defence College on 31 October-1. November 2016. The round-table participants included experts on Africa in general, sub-matter experts, experts on peace and conflict studies, and practitioners in crisis management. A total of eighteen speakers explored the effectiveness of international assistance to the four African examples from different perspectives, drawing a rather pessimistic picture of the current situation in the four countries in question, but also highlighting the difficulties for the EU in working as a conflict manager in this context. Libya is plagued by international strife to such an extent that the EU had to withdraw from that mission. South Sudan has returned to civil war, and while the technical impact of the small EU airport mission is not in doubt, the larger strategic and medium to long-term impacts are not visible. In CAR the EU force managed to stabilise a critical security situation, thus allowing international humanitarian action and political dialogue to take place. The EU force took the form of a robust bridging mission that was replaced by a UN force, and it largely managed to fulfil its mandate. However, the EU force mission also highlights a number of internal EU challenges that need to be addressed, as well as the medium to long-term impact of this type of military intervention. In the case of the DRC, four cases were debated. The first was Operation Artemis, the EU-led military intervention in the town of Bunia, to stop and pre-empt an unfolding ethnic conflict. The operation was limited in size and time, and it managed to achieve its objectives, but it did not prevent the conflict flaring up after it had left. The significance of Artemis was that it was the first ESDP mission, a trendsetter for the more independent role for the EU that some member states wanted in the future. In 2006 the EU again deployed a robust military force primarily to Kinshasa, mandated to assist the UN force MONUC in securing the DRC elections in that year. Again the EU force deployment was limited in size and time, and managed to achieve its mandate. However, the deployment highlighted a number of lessons for the EU in future operations, especially around national caveats in operations and logistics, but also the different priorities of member states in EU-led military operations, compared, for instance, to NATO operations. This was very visible in the later CAR deployment, for which it was difficult to get EU members to commit and deploy forces. The two other EU missions in the DRC were the EUPOL and the EUSEC missions, which focused on helping implement the SSR program, which constituted a central element of the peace agreement. Even though the EU was involved for many years and introduced a whole range of new initiatives, the missions did not manage to achieve their medium to long-term objectives. The study shows that there was a discrepancy between project formulation and ambitions, as well as between the available budget and reality. The EUPOL and EUSEC missions were plagued by being over-ambitious and by not taking the DRC context into consideration. Furthermore the study shows that there is a slippage between what happens in Brussels and what happens on the ground in the DRC, as well as an urgent need to secure better communications and cooperation between the two levels.