Making policies work

EU Crisis Response

Questions remain on the extent to which policies, including those of the EU, that deal with early recovery from crisis, humanitarian relief, peacebuilding and statebuilding are then translated effectively into long-term support that build stability, strengthen resilience and assist with the transition towards development.

How do policies to address instability, violence and conflict translate into effective support for creating resilience and long-term stability?

We have worked and continue working on the following themes:

Revisiting EU assistance in crisis situations: what place for humanitarian aid?
The European Union is facing situations of conflict, enduring crises and protracted displacement in its wider neighbourhood. The complexity of these situations is pushing humanitarian aid and development cooperation closer together. While the former can cater for lifesaving relief in crisis situations, development cooperation can help to tackle the root causes of conflict and fragility through longer-term structural cooperation.The EU has been trying to harmonise the two in recent policy documents, including the 2013 Communication on resilience and the 2016 EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, which put forward a joined approach that blends humanitarian, development and other external policies. Yet while there are clear needs for more joint responses to protracted crises, this comes with several challenges. A key question is how to promote coherent responses to (protracted) crises, while at the same time safeguarding the humanitarian imperative where necessary. In the SECURE programme, we have engaged with actors and stakeholders from both fields in order to give a greater insight into the specific challenges and opportunities in the development-humanitarian nexus in European crisis response policies.

Does the EU have the right instruments to finance assistance in protracted crises?
At present, the EU is facing a number of crises in the Neighborhood region and beyond. Most of these crises are either protracted and/or recurring. They are characterised by a high volatility and bring about both the need for short-term humanitarian responses as well as structural challenges in terms of development and fragility, which require more long-term solutions.The European Parliament has commissioned a study that analyses whether the current set of EU instruments constitutes a good basis to the challenges associated with protracted crisis. The study has been conducted jointly by the KU Leuven and by ECDPM, whose experts Matthias Deneckere and Volker Hauck have specifically focused on the analysis and evaluation of the EU instruments in response to protracted crisis.

ECDPM’s research around this topic has also led to one more publication, namely The EU engagement in protracted crises: Towards a comprehensive approach? which appeared in the monthly publication Nação e Defesa by the Portuguese Instituto da Defesa Nacional (IDN).

Evaluation of the EU Instrument for Stability- Crisis Response Component (2007-2017)
In 2016, ECDPM and Particip undertook the Evaluation of the EU Instrument for Stability- Crisis Response Component (IfS CRC) for 2007-2013. The IfS CRC showed itself to be a very useful Instrument to underpin the ambitions of the EU and help in translating EU policy objectives into its global operations. It has shown an ability to promote the political dimensions and values of the EU, which other instruments cannot address in the same way. The IfS CRC’s impact could have been higher if it was bolstered by political engagement throughout the lifecycle of interventions, in particular at the level of EU Delegations, and more upfront in considerations on how to fit the Instrument into the overall longer-term EU crisis response.

The future of EU support to peace and security in Africa: What implications for the African Peace Facility beyond 2020?
Matthias Deneckere and Anna Knoll, Policy seminar report, October 2016

CIVILEX – Supporting European Civilian External Actions
The CIVILEX project aims at ameliorating the communication and the exchange of information in the framework of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations – particularly EU civilian missions – according to the needs of the various actors involved. Find more information on the CIVILEX project flyer.

EU Trust Funds – Shaping more comprehensive external action?
Volker Hauck, Anna Knoll and Alisa Herrero Cangas, ECDPM Briefing Note 81, 20 November 2015

State Building Contracts
The EU’s State Building Contract is a relatively new form of budget support for fragile states in transition. For more information, please readThe EU’s State Building Contracts: Courageous Assistance to Fragile States, but how effective in the end?