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International Partnerships

Peace and security

Sustainable development cannot exist without resilience, peace and security. Our efforts aim at supporting integrated, effective and coherent action by the European Union in order to mitigate security risks, prevent conflicts, sustain peace, help partner countries to recover from major crises and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In turn, the SDGs call on all states to establish accountable and resilient institutions that make all people feel safe and secure in their everyday life.

Conflicts and security threats of today are becoming more and more intricate and protracted. These are linked, among others, to deep-seated inequalities, poverty, weak governance and rule of law, lack of inclusion and participation, organised crime and illicit economies, discrimination and gender inequalities, radicalisation and violent extremism, terrorism, forced displacement and migration, climate change and environmental degradation – including unequal access to and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, minerals and energy sources.

These challenges know no borders and therefore require global responses, as well as local knowledge.

We collaborate with EU Member States, the international community, our partner countries and civil society organisations, mainly to:

  • Facilitate the transition of partner countries from fragility to resilience and from conflict to peace
  • Develop and roll-out methodologies to support the humanitarian-development-peace nexus
  • Implement guidance, policies and tools for conflict prevention, conflict sensitivity, resilience and peace building
  • Conduct joint studies and resilience analysis to enable active, balanced and effective engagement in fragile and conflict situations
  • Centre of expertise for cooperation on resilience, peace and security programmes for issues related to women, youth and children
  • Provide expertise for cooperation on efficient security sector reform (SSR), arms-control, anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), disarmament-demobilization-reintegration (DDR), mine action and explosives, small arms light weapons
  • Providing expertise and capacity building to strengthen regional and national security, including the entire criminal justice chain (law enforcement, judiciary, border management, customs)
  • Mitigate global and emerging threats, such as terrorism and violent extremism, transnational organised crime (including environmental crime, illicit trafficking and cybercrime), protection and resilience of critical infrastructure (including public, maritime, air and cyber spaces) - as multipliers of global security challenges
  • Support priority areas of state action in a green and human rights friendly manner
  • Launch and coordinate the annual Crisis Declaration exercise as well as any ad-hoc requests from the EU Delegations (e.g. COVID-19 crisis related)
  • Liaise with other Commission services, the EEAS, EU Member States and other stakeholders to ensure appropriate integration of the external dimension of EU policies and maximizing synergies and ensuring the contribution of cooperation policy to the EU political priorities.

From fragility to resilience, from conflict to peace

The concept of fragility is multidimensional. As defined in the States of Fragility 2020 reports of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), fragility can be economic, environmental, political, societal, and security-related. The same report estimates that more than 80% of the worlds poorest will be living in fragile contexts by 2030 if no action is taken.

While poverty, fragility and conflict are closely interlinked, armed conflicts affect increasingly both low- and middle-income countries. This is why the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new European Consensus on Development both explicitly acknowledge the interdependence and mutually reinforcing nature of security, peace and sustainable development.

Fragile countries are more vulnerable to internal and external shocks because they lack both capacity and legitimacy to take action. We help our partner countries address their own fragilities to strengthen their resilience to shocks. We help them build their capacities and regain the trust and respect of their people.

The EU policy approach to Resilience implies a shift from crisis containment to upstream measures to address the underlying vulnerabilities and structural causes of fragility and conflicts. We help our partners build resilience at all levels by strengthening: the preparedness and adaptability of states, societies, communities and individuals to various pressures and shocks, the capacity to build, maintain or restore core public functions in full respect of democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the capacities to deal more peacefully with conflict risks and tensions.

Security and Peace are some of the main aspects addressed by the Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16). Conflict prevention, peacebuilding, inclusive and equitable post-conflict recovery are essential to build resilience, a necessary precondition to sustainable development.

Addressing security related threats and challenges

We help our partner countries by supporting them reform the security sector (SSR) to strengthen accountability and effectiveness of the security sector for the State and its people without discrimination, with respect for human rights and the rule of law. The UN Security Council Resolution 2151 (2014) stresses that SSR in post-conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace, stability and good governance, preventing countries from relapsing in conflict. Enhancing their capacities to anticipate and mitigate potential national or international risks is instrumental for global security.

The EU Global Strategy and numerous other sector-specific policy documents have highlighted the need to ensure coordination and cooperation in tackling those threats at local, national, regional and international levels. The EU has consistently developed policies and projects with partner countries and organisations for this purpose and provides analysis and security solutions to meet security objectives when facing complex global threats and regional instability around the world.

Our action

Our three key areas - resilience, peace and security - are tightly connected as part of one single continuum, which ranges from addressing root causes of instability, conflict and fragility, to conflict prevention, resilience and peacebuilding and mediation, using the EU toolbox, methodologies and expertise in capacity building and security sector reform.  The added value is thus to bring the various aspects of these three key areas together.

We are focused on longer-term development to help our partner countries build their capacities for lasting peace and to be ready to tackle global and complex threats. Our work is closely tied to that of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), which are under the authority of the High Representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy.

Without peace our efforts to eradicate poverty and inequality will be seriously compromised - or might simply not succeed. Therefore, the EU Global Strategy and our European Consensus on Development promote a more credible and joined-up approach that streamlines our policies and instruments, and steps up our financial support to peace and security.

Security and development is about people, and about their right to live in safety, dignity and prosperity. This means that people must also be at the heart of our response, as agents of change in resolving conflict, longer-term development impacts and building sustainable and lasting peace.

Moreover, a Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) nexus approach implies that actors work hand in hand to find and deliver collective outcomes to reduce overall vulnerability and unmet needs, strengthen risk management capacities and address root causes of conflict. This requires fostering complementarity, synergies and cooperation.

A central element of the EU’s integrated approach to conflict and crises is that joint conflict analyses should be regularly carried out and updated for countries that are at risk of or facing conflict or instability and where the EU has a significant engagement. The main aim is to attain a culture of early action to effectively address the risks of emerging, escalating violent conflicts by making the EU's engagement in fragile contexts conflict sensitive.

Global Europe-NDICI funding instrument

We finance our development cooperation in the field of security, resilience and peacebuilding in partner countries through Global Europe-NDICI funding instrument for the MFF period 2021-2027. This instrument is of even greater importance in light of the heavy economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.

Global Europe is the main financial instrument for the EU's external action, with an overall budget of €79.5 billion. The total allocation will be divided as follows:

  • €60.38 billion for geographic programmes (at least €19.32 billion for the Neighbourhood, at least €29.18 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa, €8.48 billion for Asia and the Pacific, and for Americas and the Caribbean €3.39 billion)
  • €6.36 billion for thematic programmes (Human Rights and Democracy, Civil Society Organizations, Peace, Stability and Peace Conflict Prevention and Global Challenges)
  • €3.18 billion for rapid response actions such as crisis management, conflict prevention and peace building.

Related documents

8 MARCH 2022
Multiannual Indicative Programme 2021-2027 for Peace, Stability and Conflict Prevention - annex
8 MARCH 2022
African Peace Facility 2017 annual report