News & views | 22 February 2017 | by Wilbert van der Zeijden0
PAX contributes to Common Effort 2017
-MUNSTER- From 24-26 January the PoC unit of PAX participated in the preparatory meetings leading to Common Effort 2017. Common Effort is a civil-military scenario exercise organized for the third consecutive year to share inter-agency experiences and discuss how to improve communication, coordination and cooperation between dozens of German and Dutch military, ministerial and NGO organizations in the field of international stabilisation and peace building missions.
In the last week of May 2017, PAX will also participate in the week-long Common Effort exercise in Berlin that focusses on a scenario based on the current situation in Iraq. During the preparatory meeting in Münster, Germany, about 60 participants discussed ideas for scenario components. One of the outcomes of the meeting was an agreement on six themes, each of which will be the focus of a working group during the exercise in May. The meeting also confirmed that the conflict in North Iraq will be the background for the exercise.
PAX presented its ideas for a relevant Iraq scenario, based on our current projects and insights from local partners all over Iraq. In our work in Iraq and other conflict areas, we often interact with (inter)national organisations that have a role to play in trying to end conflict and mitigate harm to civilians. The actors we interact with can be civilian – diplomats or humanitarian organisations for example, or military, as part of a stabilisation mission for example. We see a need to engage with all relevant military, diplomatic and humanitarian actors who are active in the same locations as we are, because we believe that none of the current complex conflicts can be solved by one actor alone.
Therefore, PAX values the opportunity to meet with relevant military, diplomatic and other civilian organisations to discuss challenges to constructive communication and coordination of efforts in the field, and to exercise together before we encounter each other in a conflict environment. These engagements do not necessarily result in direct cooperation, but they can at the very least prevent military missions, diplomatic efforts and NGO activities duplicate or counteract each other’s activities.
In May 2015, after the first Common Effort exercise in Berlin, PAX signed the Mission Statement to become a member of the Common Effort Community. The Common Effort exercises are commonly regarded to be good occasions to discuss general challenges that complicate civil-military cooperation in practice, through sharing analyses and assessments on an existing country and realistic conflict dynamic, while at the same time better understanding the background on how other institutions plan and execute their interventions.