On July 16, the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) turns ten years old. Over the past decade, the mission has contributed to strengthening Somali institutional capacities in the maritime and policing domains, and has made progress on legal reform and the rule of law.
First established as EUCAP Nestor, a regional civil maritime capacity-building mission focused on counter-piracy, in July 2012, the mission was renamed EUCAP Somalia in 2016, with a focus on the Somali-based partner in Mogadishu. Currently the mission is made up of 173 members and benefits from the direct contribution of 15 European countries that are seconding some of the personnel.
The mission is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to Somalia and was launched to complement the other two EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) operations: the EUTM Somalia military training mission and the EUNAVFOR anti-piracy operation. Atalanta.
“EUCAP Somalia provided maritime authorities with the necessary skills and equipment to carry out a basic coastguard role. Away from the coast, he also helped train some 700 federal Darwish, a robust police force with a mandate to secure territories free from Al Shabbah control. Today, Somalia still faces enormous internal security challenges. But thanks to our CSDP efforts, piracy is no longer a major threat to international shipping off the Horn of Africa”, underlined AR/VR Josep Borrell on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the CSDP in May 2022.
Certainly, the achievements of the mission were only possible thanks to the fruitful collaboration with Somali actors, including the Ministry of Internal Security (MoIS), the Ministry of Port and Maritime Transport, the Somali Police Force (SPF), the Maritime Administration Somali (SMA), INTERPOL, National Central Bureau (NCB). Additionally, with other international partners such as UNODC, UNSOM, UNOPS, IMO and INTERPOL.
In the maritime field, the mission has provided ship-in-a-box search and seizure training facilities, training and equipment in the three main ports (Mogadishu, Bossaso and Berbera) and has contributed to the construction of the Somali Police Force Maritime Unit Headquarters in Mogadishu in collaboration with EU partners.
The Mission has also strengthened the capacity of the Somali Maritime Administration (SMA) to establish the framework for its initial operational capabilities, with the provision of technical maritime services, and supported the accession and incorporation of international maritime conventions into the legal framework of Somalia. More recently, EUCAP Somalia was the first EU mission to deploy a specialized team to provide tailored maritime training, including on how to maintain maritime equipment.
In the policing arena, together with other international partners, the mission has promoted police development and increased the interoperability of the Somali security forces.
At a strategic level, the Mission has contributed to the review of the Somali Transition Plan 2021-2022 in light of the withdrawal of the African Union Forces (AMISOM) and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), with a focus on the transition from “army to police” to better provision of security through civilian police.
The Mission has been working with the Somali INTERPOL NCB to increase its capacity in combating transnational organized crime and achieve compliance with INTERPOL’s 19 policies, of which 11 have already been met. The Mission is also supporting the development of the Action Plan for the Empowerment of Women in the Maritime and Maritime Sector. The plan was consolidated and endorsed by the Somali Ministry of Women and Family Affairs (MoWFA) and is being implemented at the federal and federal member state levels.
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone, thanks to the hard work and dedication, but also thanks to the fruitful collaboration and commitment of Somali institutions,” said Chris Reynolds, EUCAP Somalia Head of Mission.
The mission is undergoing a strategic review to assess progress and identify needs and areas of support for the next mandate, beginning in January 2023, with the aim of continuing to build on its achievements in the coming years, strengthening its mandate and fostering capabilities of the Police and Maritime Security sectors.