Pioneers in Civilian Crisis Management

Brigadier General Jukka Savolainen

Jukka Savolainen in Afghanistan

Brigadier General Jukka Savolainen from Finland has been the Head of the European Union Police Mission EUPOL in Afghanistan since July 2010. EUPOL is a Common Security and Defence Policy CSDP civilian crisis management mission. The mission employs 365 international experts and 200 Afghans.

- The mission mandate is to contribute to the creation of sustainable Afghan-owned civilian policing capacity with connections to the wider rule of law. The methods we apply in Afghanistan are monitoring, mentoring, advising and training, General Savolainen explains.

Finland is a Key Provider of Civilian Experts
Finland is one of the key countries seconding civilian experts to Afghanistan, and with its current contingent of 40-strong makes it one of the main contributors to EUPOL-Afghanistan. The Finns work in all sectors of EUPOL.

- The Finnish experts are without exception respected as reliable and hard workers. They also tend to create a genuine and trustful contact with their Afghan counterparts, General Savolainen notes.

- As a Finn I sincerely believe we have to stay in close contact with the people of the country we are sent to assist. Only a genuine partnership will make us understand their genuine needs, and only by addressing the genuine needs we will create sustainable results. We must strongly avoid the donors’ institutional or contemporary national interests to interfere with the sound delivery of help.

- The improved relations with the main contributor, NATO Training Mission, may have been my most important achievement. I have direct contacts with several Afghan ministers and many leaders in the field of civilian policing and rule of law. They are determined to improve their country. The achievements so far are good enough to pave way towards reconciliation and peace. We must ensure the continuation of international support to Afghanistan over the coming years. The EU Civilian Crisis Management missions such as EUPOL are well-suiting instruments to that end, General Savolainen concludes.

Best in Class in Peacebuilding
Finland develops national civilian crisis management capabilities in line with its national legislation and Civilian Crisis Management Strategy. The use of non-military crisis management methods was incorporated into the European Union’s functions in 1997 on the initiative of Finland and Sweden. Finland’s strategy, drawn up in 2008, is the first national level strategy in the EU.

Civilian crisis management aims at strengthening democratization, respect for human rights and the rule of law, good governance and functioning civil society in post-conflict areas.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Finland has taken part in civilian crisis management missions, or activities defined as civilian crisis management, initiated by the EU, the UN, the OSCE, NATO and the Council of Europe. Finland has also contributed to a Nordic monitoring mission in Sri Lanka led by Norway.

Recently The European Council on Foreign Relations ECFR rated Finland as the top country in the EU for developing civilian crisis management capabilities.

The Crisis Management Centre (CMC)
CMC is located in Kuopio. It operates under the Ministry of the Interior and is responsible for operational tasks relating to national civilian crisis management capabilities.

There are approximately 170 Finnish civilian crisis management experts involved in some 20 missions around the world. The mission employing the largest number of Finnish experts is the EULEX mission in Kosovo, which assists Kosovo police, judicial, border control and customs authorities as well as correctional services.