The EU and multilateral conflict management: The case of the Central African Republic

10-06-2020

The EU supports multilateralism in the furtherance of peace and security, acting as a partner to both the United Nations and regional organisations in the effort to prevent violent conflicts, mitigate their consequences and aid long-term recovery. A significant share of EU development cooperation is dedicated to fragile and conflict-afflicted countries or areas whose populations suffer prolonged humanitarian crises. One such country, the Central African Republic (CAR), ranks second last in the Human Development Index and has been confronted with a complex emergency requiring a multi-faceted response. The country remains profoundly affected by the violent upheaval that displaced a quarter of its population and decimated its economy in 2013. Multiple armed groups control or contest about 80 % of the national territory, benefiting from illicit activities and the lucrative circulation of arms, fighters and natural resources across porous borders, as the state builds up institutions that have traditionally held little sway outside the capital Bangui. The EU – the country's biggest donor – is part of a dense UN-led network of external actors committed to supporting the government and the national partners in the pursuit of peace among the parties to the conflict. No previous peace accord has been the object of so much effort from the international community as the political agreement brokered in February 2019 in Khartoum. Its tenuous implementation has reduced overall levels of insecurity without winning all hearts and minds. The EU has developed a particular synergy with the UN on security sector reform. As the CAR prepares for political wrangling at the ballot box in 2020, the EU will, at a pivotal moment, launch a new civilian Advisory Mission (EUAM RCA) alongside the existing military Training Mission (EUTM RCA).

The EU supports multilateralism in the furtherance of peace and security, acting as a partner to both the United Nations and regional organisations in the effort to prevent violent conflicts, mitigate their consequences and aid long-term recovery. A significant share of EU development cooperation is dedicated to fragile and conflict-afflicted countries or areas whose populations suffer prolonged humanitarian crises. One such country, the Central African Republic (CAR), ranks second last in the Human Development Index and has been confronted with a complex emergency requiring a multi-faceted response. The country remains profoundly affected by the violent upheaval that displaced a quarter of its population and decimated its economy in 2013. Multiple armed groups control or contest about 80 % of the national territory, benefiting from illicit activities and the lucrative circulation of arms, fighters and natural resources across porous borders, as the state builds up institutions that have traditionally held little sway outside the capital Bangui. The EU – the country's biggest donor – is part of a dense UN-led network of external actors committed to supporting the government and the national partners in the pursuit of peace among the parties to the conflict. No previous peace accord has been the object of so much effort from the international community as the political agreement brokered in February 2019 in Khartoum. Its tenuous implementation has reduced overall levels of insecurity without winning all hearts and minds. The EU has developed a particular synergy with the UN on security sector reform. As the CAR prepares for political wrangling at the ballot box in 2020, the EU will, at a pivotal moment, launch a new civilian Advisory Mission (EUAM RCA) alongside the existing military Training Mission (EUTM RCA).