At the beginning of the new millennium, the world, and particularly the African Continent, faced the need for peace support operations. The International Community recognized the importance of comprehensive measures to ensure peace and develop the capacity to maintain stability in Countries emerging from crisis. Further, the International Community recognized the necessity to respond with complex security operations to bring stability and security to social, economic, and political progress in Countries in crisis.
In recognition of this, many initiatives have been planned to spur development, encourage good governance, promote regional partnerships and create political relationships with developed and democratic Countries.
At the 2002 Kananaskis Summit the Leaders of the G-8 Countries made a pledge to “provide technical and financial assistance so that African Countries and regional and sub-regional Organizations would be able to engage more effectively to prevent and resolve violent conflicts on the continent and undertake Peace Support Operations in accordance with the United Nations Charter”.
Subsequently, during the 2004 Sea Island Summit, G-8 Leaders formally endorsed the “G-8 Action Plan: Expanding Global Capability in Peace Support Operations”, showing commitment to expand global peacekeeping capability, with a particular focus on Africa, to bring stability and security to troubled regions.
As the number of Peace Support Operations continued to grow the G-8 Leaders adopted the mentioned Action Plan (acknowledging a lack of well-trained and equipped units able to respond to these increased demands), thereby the G-8 committed to:
- train and equip 75000 troops by 2010 (10% of which Police), to increase global capacity to conduct Peace Support Operations, with a particular focus on Africa;
- create a “clearinghouse” function, to exchange information and coordinate G-8 efforts to enhance Peace Operations training and exercises in Africa;
- develop a transportation and logistics support arrangement, to help provide transportation for deploying peacekeepers, as well as logistics support to sustain units in the field;
- establish a Constabulary Center of Excellence in Italy, to increase capabilities and interoperability of Carabinieri-like forces for Peace Support Operations and support other existing Centers dedicated to that purpose.
For this purpose, the United States of America proposed a program that would have provided $ 660 million over the following five years, to increase U.S. funding for Peace Support Operations, including those established under this initiative.
In this context, Italy proposed, within the 2004 G-8 Action Plan and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State (DoS), the creation of the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU), that was established on March 1st 2005, in Vicenza (Italy), set up and lead by the Carabinieri.
The CoESPU’s training efforts – through a people and community oriented approach, based on the dual police and military, bi-secular experience of the Carabinieri – are targeted to prepare “Carabinieri-like Peacekeepers”, specialized in managing the transition from a post-crisis situation to a stable environment for reconstruction.
For the first five years of activity, up to 2010, the CoESPU’s focus was to train 3000 Formed Police Unit (FPU) Instructors, which, in turn, would train 4500 additional FPU Operators (High Level and Mid Management Courses).
In 2010, in order to enhance cooperation, a Memorandum of Understanding between the CoESPU and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO) was signed, with the objective of:
- contributing to successful UN Peacekeeping Operation in the area of Police Components of Peacekeeping Operations;
- strengthening UN ability to establish, maintain and sustain Police Components of Peacekeeping Operations on the basis of Security Council mandates;
- supporting the comprehensive training and deployment of Formed Police Units (FPUs) to UN Peacekeeping Operations, in line with the UN FPU policy, standardized FPU pre-deployment curriculum and unit readiness standards.
Building on this MoU, acknowledging the growing importance of the Police Component as a central element in achieving sustainable peace and security, the CoESPU’s activities, in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO) and, more specifically, the United Nations Police Division, as well as with other International Organizations, have been focused on improving the capability of Carabinieri-like Police Components, providing comprehensive training in the stability policing field, with a particular emphasis on the “self-sufficiency” of the Police Contributing Countries (PCC).