BRUSSELS: On 16th July, the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) turns ten years old. For the past decade, the mission has contributed to strengthen Somali institutional capacities in the maritime and police domains, as well as progressed with legal reform and rule of law.
First established as EUCAP Nestor, a regional civilian maritime capacity building mission focused on counter-piracy, in July 2012, the mission was renamed as EUCAP Somalia in 2016, with a focus on Somali partner and based in Mogadishu. Currently the mission is composed by 173 members and benefit from the direct contribution of 15 European countries that are seconding a part of the staff.
The mission is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to Somalia and was launched to complement the two other EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations: the military training mission EUTM Somalia and the counter-piracy EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta.
“EUCAP Somalia gave the maritime authorities the necessary skills and equipment to conduct a basic coast guard function. Away from the coast, it also helped train some 700 federal Darwish, a robust police force mandated to secure territories freed from Al Shabbah control. Today, Somalia still faces massive internal security challenges. But thanks to our CSDP efforts, piracy is no longer a major threat to international shipping off the Horn of Africa” stressed the HR/VR Josep Borrell in the occasion of the 15th CSDP Anniversary in May 2022.
Certainly, mission accomplishments were only possible thanks to the fruitful collaboration with Somali actors, including Ministry of Internal Security (MoIS), Ministry of Port and Maritime Transport, Somali Police Force (SPF), Somali Maritime Administration (SMA), INTERPOL, National Central Bureau (NCB). Additionally, with other international partners such as UNODC, UNSOM, UNOPS, IMO and INTERPOL.
In the Maritime domain, the mission has provided Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure training facilities — the so-called “ship-in-a-box” —, training and equipment in the three main ports (Mogadishu, Bossaso and Berbera) and contributed to the construction of the Somali Police Force’s maritime unit Headquarters in Mogadishu in collaboration with EU partners.
The Mission has also strengthened the Somali Maritime Administration’s (SMA) capacity to set the framework for its initial operational capabilities, with the provision of technical maritime, and supported the accession and domestication of international maritime conventions into Somalia’s legal framework. More recently, EUCAP Somalia was the first EU Mission to deploy a specialized team for the provision of tailored maritime training, including on how to maintain maritime equipment.
In the Police domain, in conjunction with other international partners, the mission has promoted police development and increased Somali Security Forces’ interoperability.
On the strategic level, the Mission has contributed to the revision of the Somali Transition Plan 2021-2022 in light of the withdrawal of African Union Forces (AMISOM) and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), with a focus on transitioning from “military to police” to an enhanced provisioning of security through civilian policing.
The Mission has been working with Somali INTERPOL NCB to increase their ability in combating transnational organized crime and achieving compliance with all 19 INTERPOL policies, of which 11 have already been achieved. The Mission is also supporting the development of the Action Plan for Empowering of Women in the Maritime and Marine Sector. The plan was consolidated and endorsed by the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs in Somalia (MoWFA) and is being implemented at Federal and Federal Member State Level.
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone, through hard work and dedication, but also thanks to the fruitful collaboration and the commitment of Somali institutions” remarked Chris Reynolds, Head of Mission of EUCAP Somalia.
The mission is undergoing a strategic review to assess progress and identify needs and areas of support for the next mandate, starting from January 2023, with the aim to continue consolidating on its gains in the next years, strengthen its mandate, and foster the capabilities of the Police and Maritime Security sectors.