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International Security and Crisis Management December 20 th , 2013 By Giuseppe Fiore 1

Introduction According to a common definition, international security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. Traditional approaches to international security usually focus on state actors and their military capabilities to protect national security. However, over the last decades the definition of security has been extended to cope with the 21st century globalised international community, its rapid technological developments and global threats that emerged out of this process.


Giuseppe Fiore is a strategic communication analyst at the International Security Observer. Giuseppe works as an EU affairs freelance consultant. He has carried out in-depth research and implemented lobbying campaigns for various clients in financial services and security issues. Giuseppe gained experience in Brussels assisting the Permanent Representation of Italy to the EU, where he was involved in the activities of the Committee for Civilian Crisis Management (CIVCOM) and those of the Political and Security Committee (PSC). Moreover his practice focuses on conflict in the Middle East, cyber-security and NATO. Giuseppe holds a Master in International Relations and a post graduate Master in Intelligence and Security Studies. In addition, he holds a Masters in Diplomacy from SIOI. He is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

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It follows on from these initial reflections that whether these threats arise in the health, climate, social unrest or financial risk context, they have driven policy makers and international organizations to examine how to prepare and respond timely to events that can begin locally and expand around the world with devastating effects on society and the economy. This action/reaction is what is considered to be crisis management and it cannot be carried out in anything other than a global context.

To this extent we will try to define in this essay the mutual aspects of both crisis management and international security and how these two subjects are strictly related to one another, emphasising the structure of single international organizations and possible interactions among them in this particular field of work. We will provide an excursus on the most recent evolution of this subject showing how the concept has developed according to the legal and institutional framework in which it has been embedded and how it has evolved mainly in the last two decades.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY – EU and UN As a classical cross-cutting subject, international security crisis management does not fit within the exclusive jurisdiction of a single body, thus, to the prominent role of United Nation (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), should be added those of NATO and the European Union (EU). In this way the International Community (IC), has achieved, through regional and international organizations, some progress in curbing the number of ongoing conflicts around the world and in most cases tried to minimize the cascade effects that might arise from new ones.

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Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a major event that threatens to harm a specific area of the world, its population (e.g. Internally Displaced Persons) and governance, to only mention a few. As we will notice in the following paragraphs there are different layers and ways how to respond to these kinds of threats. This article will devote attention to the crisis management process shedding light on all the international organizations mentioned above, focusing on their structure and policies.

The European Union (EU) for example through the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP 2 which is an integral part of the EU's comprehensive approach towards crisis management, has decided to develop the civilian aspects of crisis management in four priority areas defined by the Feira European Council 3 : Police, strengthening of the rule of law, strengthening civilian administration and civil protection. This can be considered the milestone for the EU's crisis management “doctrine”. In fact, a few years later on from this Council meeting held in Feira will be the time of the European Security Strategy (ESS) 4 and the Civilian Headline Goal5, in which it was recognised that a comprehensive approach is a key asset to tackling the complex, multi-actor and multidimensional crises of rising security threats.





The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) formerly known as CSDP – European Security Defence Policy enables the Union to take a leading role in peace-keeping operations, conflict prevention and in the strengthening of the international security. Santa Maria Da Feira European Council 19-20 June 2000: European Security Strategy: The European Security Strategy of 2003 quite clearly represents one of the main documents guiding the action of the European Union in the international arena. The Review in 2008 confirmed the validity of the ESS and the need to be more capable. Civilian Headline Goal have been adopted in 2008 and revised in 2010.

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Since 2003, the EU has deployed 20 civilian missions, eight military operations and one civilian-military action6. It is worth noting here that these missions mainly support police, judiciary, customs reforms and capacity-building. They facilitate agreements ending hostilities and ensure compliance of these agreements. Furthermore, the CSDP missions can help in specific fields, like monitoring the borders, where needed, or fighting against piracy as it happens off the coast of Somalia7. This was possible thanks to the ESS' revision of 2008, which has definitely expanded the list of recognised global threats, and the Treaty of Lisbon. This evolution was not a simple one and certainly not as linear as envisioned. Nevertheless, the innovations introduced by the Lisbon Treaty8 in 2009 and the internal reorganization of the working Committee that followed it, has allowed the EU to adapt significantly to these challenges.

The design, planning and operational conduct of missions is assured by the Crisis Management Planning Directorate (CMPD), Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability


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The EU has deployed civilian missions to the Balkans (EUPM to Bosnia-Herzegovina, EULEX Kosovo, EUPAT and EUPOL PROXIMA to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), to Africa (EUPOL RD Congo, EUPOL Kinshasa and EUSEC RD Congo to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, EU SSR to Guinea Bissau, EUCAP SAHEL to Niger, EUCAP NESTOR to the Horn of Africa, EUAVSEC to South Sudan and EUBAM Libya), to the South Caucasus (EUJUST THEMIS and EUMM to Georgia), to the Middle East (EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah to the occupied Palestinian territories, EUJUST LEX to Iraq), to South East Asia (AMM to the Indonesian province of Aceh), to Central Asia (EUPOL Afghanistan), and to Eastern Europe (EUBAM Moldova/Ukraine). Military operations have been conducted by the EU in the Balkans (EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia-Herzegovina and CONCORDIA in FYROM, both in cooperation with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement) and in Africa (EUFOR in Chad/Central African Republic, ARTEMIS and EUFOR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, EUTM in Somalia and EUNAVFOR Atalanta off the Horn of Africa, and EUTM in Mali). Finally, one civilian-military action has been carried out in Sudan/Darfur in support of the African Union-led mission AMIS II. EEAS website: The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009. It provides the EU with modern institutions and optimised working methods to tackle both efficiently and effectively today's challenges in today's world. For more info:

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(CPCC) and EU Military Staff (EUMS) 9 . More broadly, embedded in this wide decisionmaking structure there are two working Committees: the Civilian Crisis Management Committee (CIVCOM) and Political Military Group (PMG), taking care of civilian and military operations. These committees report to the Political and Security Committee (PSC), which is comprised of Member States’ ambassadors providing advice and policy recommendations.

Additionally, in the last few years, international organizations enhanced cooperation among themselves trying to foster co-operation in the area of civilian and military crisis management, especially in the Balkans Africa and Middle East where most of the crisis have broken out.

In particular, since 2003 the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union, in order to deepen this co-operation and provide it with reliable and sustainable mechanisms, agreed on a Joint Declaration10. Most notably, this Joint Declaration established a ‘joint consultative meeting’, also known as the Steering Committee, between UN and EU staff to discuss a thematic aspect or a specific crisis situation. The Steering Committee brings together representatives of the European External Action Service, some EU Military staff and experts in other fields, while the UN side includes representatives of UN agencies11. The aim of these regular meetings is to improve UN-EU co-operation, especially with regards to planning, training, communication and best practices.




The EUMS performs early warning, situation assessment and strategic planning for humanitarian missions, peacekeeping and crisis management (Petersberg Tasks) for all EU-led military operations. Joint Statement on UN-EU cooperation in Crisis Management Management_Joint%20Statement.pdf Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO), the Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

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Over the years, with the evolution of the international context and also the deepening of the European integration process, there have been important developments in the type and number of cooperation in which different actors to the international arena have involved themselves in. During the 1990s, the UN got involved in even more complex crisis situations in which humanitarian, security and development issues were deeply challenging the organization itself and its scope. It has been calculated that 90% overall of the victims in conflicts were civilians. For this and many others reasons there has been an increasing need for intervention against rogue states to better respond to the need of global security. At the same time the concept of “peace-keeping”, with all its different nuances, has emerged signaling a growing commitment by international organizations to countries’ long-term development assistance. Rapidly changing environments also tested the ability of existing missions to effectively respond to violence. It must be remembered at this stage that not all the time has there been a quick response and intervention by these organizations12. Due to ineffective implementation at all levels – management, strategic and political – a prompt reaction to what was going on was not possible all the times, though it must be recognised that the combination of all these efforts by several actors has helped war-torn societies to establish the conditions for sustainable peace. Despite all this, United Nations peacekeeping continues to be a critical instrument for the maintenance of international peace and security.

The diverse mandates provided by the Security Council to peacekeepers cover a broad spectrum of tasks, reflecting the reality that, in the crisis management environment – but not 12

It is undeniable, that while some UN peace operations proved to be rather successful as in El Salvador and Mozambique, for instance, other missions failed and remain associated to some degree with particularly tragic events - like the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), linked with the ferocious civil war, UNPROFOR (the UN Protection Force) and the massacre of civilians in the former Yugoslavia, and the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and the its genocide.

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exclusively, so much must be accomplished to rebuild and sustain peace. Although many missions prioritize conflict prevention and crisis management, most operate in fairly safe places. Only a tenth of current UN and non-UN political missions are dealing with ongoing wars or the immediate aftermath of conflict, whereas over half deal with longer-term postconflict peace-building13. The UN Year in review document of 201214 shows that with over 110,000 personnel serving in around 30 peacekeeping and political missions, there is no one-size-fits-all for peacekeeping operations. Flexibility and timely response are still considered to be important issues to ensure the correct answer on the ground. Moreover, the term peace-keeping has become even more bound to that of peace-building, the two terms mutually reinforcing each other. If the mandate of a peacekeeper is the one of restoring status quo ante security, once it has achieved this goal will be the peace-builder work to manage a full hand over to national authorities with the fullest possible consultation with the Government concerned15. Such a complete division of tasks is not possible between these two subjects, especially in the beginning of a crisis management operation where transitional administration might require the mutual work of different agencies and offices. According to a report by the International Peace Academy, what clearly separates the civilian aspects of peace-keeping from peace-building is not the nature of their respective activities, but rather their timing and implementing agents16.

On the other hand, the UN must, as it should be valid for others actors involved in such 13 14 15


Political 2012 Missions: The UN Year in Review 2012: United Nations, Supplement to An Agenda for Peace. UN Doc A/50/60-S/1995/1. January 1995. Para 5 International Assistance to countries emerging from conflicts: a review of fifthen years of interventions and the future of Peace-building – International Peace Academy, 2006 by Alberto Cutillo.

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domain, become more sensitive to country specific issues and challenges, paying more attention to cultural differences adapting its policy as a “custom-tailored product” in order to get the most effective result. For instance, in 2012 while UN missions in Africa were challenged17, sometimes to the limits, by their host country specific crises and developments, field operations in the Middle East had to adapt, to a varying degree, to the regional threats of the continuing conflict in Syria, re-defining the general approach used in the past.

Finally, co-operation between the United Nations and regional organizations is stated in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter and is essential for the maintenance of international peace and security and has been was recently reaffirmed by UN General Assembly resolution 65/283 of 28 July 201118.

NATO and OSCE Many crisis management operations are often loosely referred to as only peacekeeping operations, but there are different types of crisis management operations as mentioned above. NATO’s role in crisis management, for instance, goes beyond military operations to include issues such as the protection of populations against natural, technological or humanitarian disaster operations. All in all a crisis can effectively be political, military or humanitarian 19


Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were among the most challenging situations of 2012 in Africa. 18 UN General Assembly, Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution, A/RES/65/283, July 28th, 2011, 3(english)_1.pdf 19 Humanitarian operations are conducted to alleviate human suffering. Humanitarian operations may precede

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and can be caused by political or armed conflict, technological incidents or natural disasters.

As previously noted, each type of crisis management consists of the different means of dealing with these different forms of crises. In the 2010 Strategic Concept 20 , NATO has adopted the so called comprehensive approach to crisis management, envisaging NATO involvement at all levels of a crisis and considering a broad range of tools to be more flexible and adaptable across crisis management situations. According to NATO official reports, today 110,000 military personnel are engaged in missions around the world. These forces are currently operating in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and the Mediterranean, off the Horn of Africa and in Somalia21. To have better coordination within the organization and the Strategic Commands22, NATO has created the Crisis Response System (NCRS), which is a guide to aid decision-making process by providing the Alliance with a comprehensive set of measures to manage and respond to crises under time pressure. This can be done thanks to the NATO Crisis Management Process (NCMP) 23 , which breaks down a crisis situation into six different phases 24 , providing a structure against which military and non-military crisis response planning processes should be




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or accompany humanitarian activities provided by specialized civilian organizations. Strategic Concept For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation”: NATO operations and missions: NATO HQ in Brussels is the forum for political-military consultations and decision making (North Atlantic Council and different Committees). The NATO command structure (NCS) is fully integrated and has two strategic commands, one for Operations (SHAPE in Mons, Belgium; Commander: Supreme Allied Commander Europe - SACEUR), one for Transformation (ACT in Norfolk, USA; Commander: Supreme Allied Commander Transformation - SACT). It was first approved in 2005 and is revised annually. NATO’s assessment of a crisis and development of response strategies:

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implemented. Additionally under the Berlin Plus agreements, 25 NATO and the EU have consolidated a strategic partnership


concerning crisis management. These arrangements, still often

politically blocked in practice by some EU's member states, have allowed the EU to have access to NATO assets and capabilities other than planning.

NATO efforts to reach out to regional organizations have hardly been limited to the EU. The signing of the Joint Declaration on UN/NATO Cooperation in 2008, represents a clear step in terms of International Cooperation, providing a very important action for deepening the connection between the two organizations which have recently collaborated side by side in Afghanistan, Pakistan (earthquake), Iraq (training assistance), off the coast of Somalia (antipiracy policing efforts), and efforts to support African Union peacekeepers in Sudan. At all levels, relevant NATO civilian and military staff are in increasingly close touch with UN counterparts on a wide range of issues. At the Libya crisis in 2011, for instance, informal discussions allowed for an effective exchange of early warning and assessment of the situation. These kinds of partnerships have provided a useful model for how to apply the comprehensive approach in crisis management in the future.



Berlin Plus agreements, concluded on 17 March 2003: NATO-EU cooperation dates back to the mid-1990s in the Western Balkans. A few years later, the NATO Summit (Washington, 1999) and the Nice European Council (2000) laid the foundations for cooperation between the two organisations. This strategic partnership between the EU and NATO was formalised on 16 December 2002 through the European Union-NATO Declaration on European Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

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The effective implementation of a comprehensive approach27 requires all actors to contribute to a concerted effort, based on a shared sense of responsibility, openness and determination, taking into account their respective strengths, mandates and roles, as well as their decisionmaking autonomy28.

Furthermore this close cooperation at the political and operational level is implemented with other actors such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)29 , particularly active in the Western Balkans. In addition to coordinating initiatives on the ground, NATO and the OSCE regularly exchange views and information on key securityrelated thematic issues, such as border security, disarmament, arms control (in particular, controlling the spread of small arms and light weapons), energy security and terrorism. The OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC)30 provides direct support to all field operations and ensures direct communication between capitals in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. It constitutes a 24/7 situation room which continuously monitors developments in the area of security. This is a pivotal link in the security chain between the Secretariat and the field operations in case of the emergence of a crisis. 27

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In March 2012, NATO agreed on an Updated List of Tasks to update its Comprehensive Approach Action Plan. A ''Comprehensive Approach'' to crisis management: The decision – taken by the OSCE at its November 2007 ministerial meeting in Madrid – to engage in Afghanistan, opened a new field for cooperation between the two organizations as part of a comprehensive approach among international actors. The Conflict Prevention Centre, based in the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, plays a pivotal role in OSCE efforts to promote peace and stability across the OSCE area. The CPC comprises the Policy Support Service – which includes four regional desks, the Operations Service – which in turn consists of the Planning and Analysis Team and the Situation/Communications Room – the Programming and Evaluation Support Unit and the Forum for Security Co-operation Support Section – which includes the Communications Network Unit. The CPC has approximately 50 staff members.

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Since 2003, more than thirty three assistance requests from 16 participating States have been received by the organization. Moreover, thanks to the Corfu Process launched in June 2009 and the nature itself of this organization31, the debate over security has been reinforced in the aftermath of the crisis in the southern Caucasus and the proposal of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. At the Helsinki Ministerial Council in 2008 the Russian president called for a new European security pact, along the line of five clauses, including "a clear affirmation of the inadmissibility of the use of force - or the threat of force - in international relations."32

Conclusions As this summary is not exhaustive and may provide only some possible interpretation of the meaning of crisis management in light of international security we have tried to shed light on this complex issue. Undeniably the IC has made efforts to readapt itself to the new challenges, especially in terms of coordination between different actors called upon time by time to respond to crises. Among the security threats that have affected global security it has to be noted that the lack of information-sharing should be considered the worst case scenario. It is, however, a question beyond the scope of this study whether this has been achieved. Surely though, as most of the policies and on-going processes outlined in this article demonstrate, it can be concluded that thanks to the lessons-learned from previous crises’ and the analysis that has been made on a case by case basis, there is still room for improvement for international organisations’ response to international crisis.


As the only regional organization bringing together all states in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian areas, and with its comprehensive security concept and rich experience in the field and as a negotiating platform, the OSCE is the natural anchor for such a dialogue. 32 “Sarkozy and Medvedev call for new European security pact”, Deutsche Presse Agentur, October 8, 2008

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A ''Comprehensive Approach'' to crisis

African Union, The Common African Position on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations: the Ezulwini Consensus (Ext/EX.CL/2 VII), Addis Ababa, 7-8 March 2005.

Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2012;

Conflict Prevention and Diplomacy:

Cooperation by Committee: The EU Military Committee and the Committee for Civilian Crisis Management, Mai’a K Davis Cross, February 2010,

Developing guidance for effective mediation consultation with regional, subregional and other international organizations, December 2012,

For mission personnel figures,

Mapping of EU’s Global Cooperation, Emmanuel Fanta, ooperation_01.pdf

NATO and the United Nations: Debates and Trends in Institutional Coordination, by Kent J. Kille, College of Wooster, and Ryan C. Hendrickson, Eastern Illinois University:

OECD-Development Assistance Committee Guidelines on Security System Reform and Governance,

Political 2012 Missions,

Security Sector Reform Missions under CSDP: Addressing Current Needs, Sebastian

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Bloching August 2011: 

Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation”:

The European Union's Crisis Management After Lisbon: Addressing New Security Challenges in the 21st Century IAI Working Papers, July 2013,

The OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre,

The UN Year in Review

The United Nations and Civilian Crisis Management, Independent study by Anja T. Kaspersen and Ole Jacob Sending, May 2005, 0409987-UN%20and%20Civilian%20Crisis%20Management.pdf

United Nations, Supplement to An Agenda for Peace. UN Doc A/50/60-S/1995/1. January 1995, Paragraph 5,

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About the International Security Observer The International Security Observer (ISO) is a web-based think tank on international security and defence affairs. ISO was established in September 2011 in order to foster the next generation of security experts by encouraging discussions on strategic issues among junior and senior analysts. ISO’s strength lies within its worldwide network of volunteer contributors, who come from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines. ISO conceives “security” in its broader sense, hence not only including military and intelligence affairs but also economic, energy, cyber and outer space issues. ISO’s holistic approach is applied to the analysis of ongoing conflicts, emerging crises, terrorist and organized crime activities, energy and economic issues. In these fields, we seek to give our best in order to write deep and unconventional analyses by combining an open to the public style of writing with strong academic standards. For more information:

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International Security and Crisis Management  

By Giuseppe Fiore

International Security and Crisis Management  

By Giuseppe Fiore