Development of the Serbian National Capabilities for Civilian Contributions to Peace Operations

In September 2016, Prague Security Studies Institute commenced a realisation of a new project entitled “Development of the Serbian National Capabilities for Civilian Contributions to Peace Support Operations and Civilian Crisis Management“. The main aim of this 16 months project is to enable Serbia to actively and efficiently contribute to civilian components of peace operations and civil crisis management. The project is supported by the Czech Development Agency and the main project partner on the Serbian side is the ISAC Fund, a think-tank that promotes and serves the transformation of Serbia towards the EU and Euro-Atlantic membership. The project will be realized together with Serbian government bodies so its sustainability and the continuation of training of civilian experts once all the mechanisms are in place are guaranteed.

The project’s objective is to establish a functioning and sustainable system for sending Serbian non-military experts to international peace operations. It will primarily address necessary adjustments of Serbia’s existing strategic and legal frameworks and the development of an adequate system of coordination, training, recruitment and deployment of experts.

PSSI is mainly responsible for transferring the Czech experience with its system for sending civilian experts and for overseeing the realisation of the project. Regarding the setting up of a training centre, PSSI will draw on its know-how gained by organising the Interagency Civilian-Military Training program in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2012.

Both the EU and the UN increasingly emphasize the need for civilian expertise in the multinational peace operations in order to entrench peace and make it a long term conflict solution. Serbia has transformed from an international security consumer to an international security provider and it has proclaimed its readiness to contribute to the building of the national, regional and global security in the framework of the United Nations, European and other international organizations. However, in spite of the increased demand for participation of civilian personnel in their missions, Serbia so far has not sent any civilian experts.

Serbian civilian contribution can be potentially very valuable since Serbia has rich recent experience in the post-conflict stabilization and security sector reform. Furthermore, Serbia’s participation in civilian peace missions will push Serbia closer to Euro-Atlantic integrations and EU structures. Finally, this programme will help negotiations on Chapter 31 of the Acquis Communautaire.

Events

On November 24-25, PSSI took part in “Civilians in Multilateral Missions Seminar” in Serbia which served as an opening event for the project. The seminar was organised by the ISAC Fund and its aim was to introduce the Czech system for sending civilians to multilateral missions to Serbian stakeholders and acquaint them with lessons learned from practical experience with its functioning. The information was supplemented by German experience presented by a representative of the ZIF Center for International Peace Operations.

Among the participants were:

  • PSSI and ISAC Fund representatives
  • A delegate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
  • Serbian stakeholders from the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet of the Minister Without Portfolio Responsible for EU integration
  • A representative of the ZIF Center for International Peace Operations, Germany