Civilian crisis management


Civilian crisis management is the stabilisation and/or the prevented escalation of a conflict or crisis situation by means of non-military actions. Civilian crisis management can take place throughout the cycle of a crisis or conflict, both preventively and in later phases. It is primarily the European Union that has developed this concept since 1999 and further operationalised it through civilian CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) missions on the ground. The mandate of these missions is essentially to strengthen the rule of law and democratically regain control over and stabilise the territory while respecting human rights.

Belgium's vision and priorities for civilian crisis management are laid down in the  Belgian Strategy for Civilian Crisis Management (PDF, 355.99 KB) approved by the Council of Ministers on 18 May 2017.

Belgium's preference is for an integrated approach to crises, preferably in a multilateral context, given that this increases the impact and the possibility of synergies. Belgium considers the EU to be the primary security provider, focusing on the implementation of civilian aspects of the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy (see internal link to EUGS) and the contribution to the implementation of the Civil Compact. When other international organisations are better suited or complement each other in tackling a crisis, or when Belgium can provide specific expertise, deployment within the framework of the UN, OSCE or NATO is also possible.

The Council of Ministers approves the annual indicative planning, in which the priorities for civilian crisis management are set out, as well as an estimate of the number of experts that can be deployed for this purpose. For implementation, a provisional appropriation is provided in the General Expenditure Budget to cover the costs associated with the secondment of experts.

The experts deployed in the missions in the context of civilian crisis management are primarily from the relevant public services (Federal Police, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Finance). In addition, the FPS Foreign Affairs can also send external experts with a contract of limited duration, provided that they have passed a specific test organised by the government's selection service (SELOR). All experts must also have completed a 10-day basic training in civilian crisis management before their candidacy for a mission can be supported.

In this way, Belgium manages to deploy an average of 20 to 30 experts per year in different missions.

Useful links:

More information about the civilian CSDP missions can be found here.

More information about the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine can be found here.

More information about the basic generic training on civilian crisis management can be found here.