Stabilizing post-crisis countries

The act of stabilizing post-crisis countries aims to re-establish the minimum conditions of viability for States and to meet populations’ essential needs.

In order to strengthen the effectiveness of the French crisis-response mechanism, in December 2014 the Crisis and Support Centre created a specific unit to support post-crisis processes: The Stabilization Department (SD).

The SD finances projects and mobilizes expertise within very short timeframes, helping to support political transition, strengthen civil society and/or lay the foundations for a post-crisis recovery.

Through flexible and expedited procedures tailored to the volatile nature of the operation, it supports quick-impact actions to help countries recover from crises, thus fulfilling two objectives: allowing populations to benefit from “peace dividends” and supporting States in redeploying their core functions, including sovereign functions.

The SD mainly operates in countries which have suffered crises, whether electoral, security, institutional or political, which prevent the State from operating normally.

It has three objectives: (1) re-establishing security and the State’s core functions, (2) relaunching the local economy and strengthening civil society and (3) laying the foundations for a long-term reconstruction and development process.

Re-establishing security and the State’s core functions

  • Supporting mine clearance, strengthening and training of security forces and the reintegration of veterans
  • Supporting electoral processes in post-crisis countries
  • Re-establishing access to basic social services (energy, water, education, health, etc.)
  • Supporting transitional justice processes and citizens’ access to justice

Focusing on mine clearance: enabling populations displaced due to decontamination to return home and training in mine clearance

The SD, through its emergency action, works in the areas of humanitarian mine clearance, capacity building and awareness-raising for the States and populations most vulnerable to the danger of mines, improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war.

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Much of the efforts in recent years have focused on Syria, in Raqqa Governorate as well as in Iraq, where the SD supports the deployment of specialized teams in Nineveh Governorate and the Sinjar district. One of the teams comprises solely Yazidi women, whose job is to locate, identify and destroy explosive devices in the villages, infrastructures and surrounding countryside.

At the same time, the SD has conducted several projects on decontamination and on raising awareness among populations of the dangers of mines in order to help the most vulnerable populations in Colombia, Yemen and Libya.

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The ability of the relevant States to ensure the safety of their people is essential to their stability. To this end, the SD has conducted several training projects in order to boost institutional capabilities to detect mines and improvised explosive devices in Iraq and several West African countries.

For example, the SD supports a project to raise awareness on improvised explosive devices and chemical precursors, which helped train 1,200 members of the Internal Security Forces (ISFs) from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic.

Relaunching the local economy and strengthening civil society

  • Supporting reconciliation processes (community and pastoral farming conflicts)
  • Supporting the media and human rights defenders
  • Contributing to relaunching the local economy (revenue-generating activities, vocational training, etc.)
  • Supporting renewed dialogue between States and civil society

Project focus: Yemeni Media Emergency Response

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The SD supports the Yemeni Media Emergency Response (YMER) project which aims to promote the freedom to inform the population of the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The project involves facilitating access to reliable humanitarian information in four areas of the country (Sanaʽa, Aden, Taiz and Al Hudaydah) by building a network of journalists, media and civil society organizations who provide neutral coverage of the conflict, protect themselves from the threats against them and supply useful information to the population. As part of the project, 11 Yemeni journalists met in Stockholm to cover the UN-led peace negotiations in December 2018.

Laying the foundations for a long-term reconstruction and development process

  • Support State-reform processes (decentralization, civil service, support for local governance, etc.)
  • Strengthen legal institutions by training judges and strengthening the criminal justice system
  • Strengthen public finances and the mobilization of domestic resources

Project focus: Support for justice in the Central African Republic

The SD supports all aspects of the justice sector in the Central African Republic. Justice is an essential issue for the country’s recovery in order to allow reconciliation, to fight insecurity and to facilitate people’s access to law.

The Special Criminal Court - a Central African Republic court bringing together national and international judges - stems from the authorities’ determination to respond to the serious violations committed since 2003 and thus to break the cycle of impunity. For that purpose, in August 2014 the Central African Republic Government and MINUSCA signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the court, which is competent to investigate, prosecute and rule of the most serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Since August 2017, the SD has been supporting this Court, including by setting up a French judge within the jurisdiction and providing training for its members. Furthermore, it is financing a project to ensure better protection and consideration of victims of these violations.

The SD also supports ordinary courts by building the capacities of actors in the criminal justice system. Through another project, it facilitates access to law and brings the justice system closer to populations by holding mobile court hearings enabling declaratory judgments to be issued for birth certificates, thus providing civil status and access to citizenship for over a thousand people.

Partners and operators accustomed to crisis areas

The SD works closely with all actors involved in crisis management. Within this framework, it combines its work with emergency humanitarian responses on the one hand and structural development programmes on the other. It has various partners: State departments and operators, local and regional authorities, NGOs and civil society organizations, and the private sector.

Where appropriate, the SD also collaborates with the Ministry for the Armed Forces, such as in Operation Barkhane in Mali. Stabilization activities also seek to consolidate security gains achieved by military operations through quick-impact, visible projects serving populations and local authorities.

Updated: May 2019