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Assessing the Effectiveness of European Union Civilian CSDP Missions Involved in Security Sector Reform: The Cases of Afghanistan, Mali and Niger

The European Union (EU) has deployed a wide variety of civilian missions that have sought to advise, train and build the capacity of internal security sectors in host coun­tries as part of its civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). These mis­sions constitute integral parts of broader international programmes of Security Sector Reform (SSR) in conflict-affected countries. Their strategic objective is to con­tribute to the development of a civilian security sector that is efficient and accountable, and enjoys the trust of the public.

This report looks at three case studies: EUPOL Afghanistan (2007–2016), EUCAP Sahel Mali (2014–) and EUCAP Sahel Niger (2012–2024). All three have engaged in civil­ian SSR activities amid ongoing armed conflict, and operated in broader national and international counterinsurgency contexts. Each case study reflects on the key research question: ‘What contributions have EU civilian CSDP missions involved in SSR made to durable peace?’


1. Introduction

2. EUPOL Afghanistan

3. EUCAP Sahel Mali

4. EUCAP Sahel Niger

5. Conclusions

6. Recommendations


Dr Jaïr van der Lijn is a Senior Researcher and Director of the SIPRI Peace Operations and Conflict Management Programme.
Gretchen Baldwin is a Researcher in the SIPRI Peace Operations and Conflict Management Programme.
Dr Romain Malejacq is an Associate Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen’s Centre for International Conflict Analysis & Management (CICAM) and Department of Political Science, in the Netherlands.
Dr Adam Sandor is a Senior Research Associate in Peace and Conflict at the Universität Bayreuth.
Dr Pauline Poupart is a Researcher in the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Makama Bawa Oumarou is a Consultant and Researcher with LASDEL and the University of Niamey (Abdou Moumouni University).
Saidou Oumarou Mahamane is a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Anthropology and Sociology Studies and Research in Abdou Moumouni University and a Research Assistant at LASDEL.